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Social media hype causes concerns of fake news

Unverified Facebook posts are causing concern in St. Joseph and along Hwy 36.

Posted: Aug 23, 2018 6:51 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) There’s an old saying, don’t believe everything you read, and perhaps nowhere is that more true than on the internet. With social media abuzz over possible abductions in the area, it's important to fact check and think twice before sharing that facebook article.

"As I tell my students, 'check thy source,' always know who your source is, what previous information that they’ve shared, are they credible." said Dr. Christopher Bond, a communications professor at Missouri Western State University. 

Posts about attempted abductions here in St. Joseph are making the rounds on social media, one says there was an attempted abduction a local Walmart, while another, describes a human trafficking attempt along Hwy. 36. Neither of the claims have been validated.

"I checked with our communications personnel here, and we haven’t received any calls to our office in reference to the incident on 36 Highway." said Sgt. Jake Angle, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Troop H. 

In an emergency situation, authorities say its best to tell them first.

If someone’s trying to run you off the road, or you feel someone’s following you, or you feel like you’re being threatened, or you know whatever the case may be, that’s a 911 call." said Angle, adding that it's important the information gets to them as quick as possible.

If and/or when social media does comes into play, experts in the communications field say be aware of what's posted.

"We by human nature love the good story, we love the good gossip." said Bond.

They say that will stop the spread of misinformation. 

"We always need to fact check, make sure that we're sharing facts from a credible source." said Bond. 

Sgt. Angle adds that sometimes social media can be a barrier between authorities and timely information, he says gathering information about the incident as soon as possible helps authorities with their investegations. 

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Clouds will slowly build back into the area today. Clouds will linger overnight as a cold front moves through and the winds will pick up out of the northwest at 5 to 15 mph. That front will bring us a breezy northerly wind for your Wednesday as well as some cold temperatures. Highs will struggle to warm into the lower 20 on Wednesday, but wind chills will only feel like the single digits during the afternoon. Thursday will be the coldest day of the week. Wind chills still start out sub zero Thursday morning, with temperatures only making it into the teens by the afternoon. Temperatures will slowly start to recover by the weekend.
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