‘Just be critical when you see some of these posts’: LPD, mental health experts warn of fake social media posts

‘Just be critical when you see some of these posts’: LPD, mental health experts warn of fake social media posts
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 9:40 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For many, social media is also a way to get news and information from reputable sources. However in some cases, like a post that’s recently made the rounds claiming a serial killer is on the loose in Lincoln, the information just isn’t true.

It’s a tricky part of the digital age that has law enforcement and local behavioral health experts putting out reminders that just because someone shared it online, does not mean it’s true.

Lincoln Police said that the post in question was quickly debunked. It’s being circulated in cities across the country using the same wording but whoever is posting it is simply swapping out city names to fool the population that’s seeing it.

LPD said they found many others just like it by using an image search.

“Just be critical when you see some of these posts because again, just be cognizant that not everything you read on the internet is factual. Do your own research and make sure it’s factual and legitimate,” said LPD Captain Todd Kocian.

Kocian said people should be wary of posts like this on social media by double-checking them with those image searches, searching the wording in the post to see if it’s the original, and looking to news outlets for verification.

“With a story such as this, a good start would maybe go and visit some of your local media sources seeing if they’re also reporting that same story,” Kocian said. “Especially something of this matter. Based on the magnitude, the paragraph there, that’s a pretty significant story and a good indicator is if you don’t see that same story on the sources, it might not be legit.”

Dr. Dave Miers is the Director of Behavioral Health at Bryan Health. He said when it comes to posts like this, it’s easy for people to see and accept them as a fact because the group or person who posted it is a trusted source to them.

“You just assume it’s true and people start weighing in on it and pretty soon that information starts growing and it starts blossoming out of proportion,” Dr. Meirs said. “You find out that none of it is true and it really becomes misinformation and it really just heightens individuals’ anxiety and trust.”

He also said those with mental illness that’s unaddressed are more susceptible to believing these fake posts or falling for scams that they see online as well.

“61% of folks who are scammed and find out the information is false many of those folks 61% of those folks are dealing with a mental health issue themselves,” Dr. Meirs said.

10/11 also asked Lincoln Police Wednesday if they know what crime the man in that viral post committed and where. They said they still can’t find the source of the photo or if the man’s picture has committed any crime at all.

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