Police Remind Students of Consequences of Twitter Rumors
COLUMBIA - MU Police officials warned students Friday to verify their sources before they tweet rumors and not to take information seriously if it doesn't come from an official source. Rumors ran wild on Twitter Thursday that the actor Brad Pitt was on the MU campus. Officials said this was just another example of how fast social media can spread, even untrue rumors.
Captain Brian Weimer said there are no legal consequences for putting out false information of Twitter or other social media, even if it does get the police involved.
The incident is remenisent of last October when there were rumors on Twitter that a gunman was loose on the MU campus. Weimer said that incident didn't violate any laws, but highlighted the negative power of social media.
Weimer said, "Once again, they didn't cross a line at that point either. However, with that the university has made it very clear that a timely warning would go out through the text messaging system, and MU alert web page. When you start believeing these rumors versus the actual sources, that's probably where the problem lies."
Christian Basi, a spokesman for the University, said in the past, he has seen social media rumors die down as soon as an official source confirms or denies a claim. He urged people to find an official source that confirms a fact before spreading rumors online.