PCSO NEWS RELEASE: Facebook has become a daily habit for most people. Have you ever seen a story that just made your blood boil and you want to comment or share? Did you do your research first? Did the original poster do theirs?
Yesterday a post was put up about some dogs being dumped on the side of the road near Linden. The post had a photo of a vehicle which showed the license plate. There were no pictures of dogs, no video of them actually being dumped by the accused or any evidence to support the post other than a photo of the truck and tag. This post was shared over 3,700 times.
The local Sheriff’s Office investigated and found the story to be false. The truck was owned by an out of town business owner who was in the county on work and got lost. The dogs in question chased his vehicle and a picture was taken. Some of the comments on the post were atrocious. One person wanted to, and I quote, “stick a gun up his butt”. Others wanted the “POS found and hung”. The comments ranged from mild shock to outright violence. Some went on a rant about how law enforcement didn’t care about such matters and wouldn’t do anything.
In the end it turned out the innocent man never committed any crime, but he was instantly found guilty over just a picture of his truck and his tag number. The original post was deleted, but that doesn’t fix the fact that almost 4,000 people shared his tag number and declared him a monster. How scary is the new social media world to you? What if someone put up a false post up about you or a loved one and the FB community turned on you?
This story has a happy ending. The dogs were family pets, not abandoned and the person who put up the post called to apologize to the Sheriffs Office for their mistake and removed the post. This should be a cautionary tale on knee jerk reactions that can potentially ruins someone name, career or even their safety. The original poster could be sued for libel, the accused could have been hurt or had a business ruined over what was meant to be good intentions. In the future we urge people to use caution and good sense when posting, commenting or sharing any story. If the issue is a potential legal issue, it is always good to contact local law enforcement and let them investigate.