EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be said again.

Do not – repeat DO NOT – believe everything or possibly anything you read on social media.

Moreover, don’t post rumors or speculations, presenting them as facts.

When you do that, for example when you hear about a car crash on Highway 3 and then post to a local Facebook group with more than 4,000 members that there are ‘multiple fatalities’, you create unnecessary stress.

That’s what happened recently on a Saturday night in Princeton, and understandably it upset a lot of people.

A car did indeed go off Highway 3 near Hedley, striking a hydro pole, in the early hours of the evening, February 1.

One man travelling alone suffered serious injuries and was transported to Penticton General Hospital. He passed away two weeks later.

How that became an accident causing several deaths is a mystery that does not warrant investigation, although it probably started with a conversation something like this:

• Accident on Highway 3

• Gee I hope no one died.

• Someone died? How horrible. So many people die on Highway 3.

• Many people died on Highway 3 in an accident? I have to tell more than 4,000 people right now.

The Spotlight was able to confirm with police, and publish the facts of the incident, a couple of hours after the original post that sent the community into a tailspin.

It’s fortunate the local RCMP detachment follows an excellent media policy, and will even return a reporter’s message at 10 p.m. on a Saturday night.

Naturally news organizations follow social media for leads and tips, but as like as not, they turn out to be rumors and speculations and total time wasters.

Usually a quick call to authorities clears up misunderstanding.

It brings to mind the Sunday morning someone posted to the same Facebook group that vandals had smeared dog excrement all over the slides at Vermilion Fork Elementary School’s playground.

Yeah. No. It was a baby bear caught at the top of a piece of play equipment and literally had the insides scared out of it.

Freedom of speech is a wonderful thing, but it comes responsibility.

The saying used to be ‘think before you speak.’

In this age it needs to be ‘think before you post crap.’

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RV goes up in flames in West Kelowna

West Kelowna fire crews responded to the fire around 4 a.m. on March 30

Temperatures in Kelowna to hit double digits by the weekend

Kelowna is expected to hit a high 13 degrees on Friday, April 3

First responders continue to rally in support of Kelowna health care workers

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters for the second night in a row

COSAR assists first responders with injured hiker in K.L.O. Creek Park in Kelowna

This is the second incident COSAR has responded to in 24 hours

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read