Professors stress due diligence after university false alarm

A Communications professor at Missouri Western urges people who post information to social media to verify first.

Posted: Nov. 30, 2018 7:02 PM
Updated: Nov. 30, 2018 9:40 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo) Many on the campus of Missouri Western State University are learning an important lesson while breathing a sigh of relief

"Be careful what you post, but be careful what you read." Dr. Christopher Bond, communications professor, MWSU, said. 

The campus community is calming down after posts on social media claimed a gunman was on campus Thursday. Those claims were false, but the reaction they left upon students, staff and faculty was very real.

"We are inundated with information with social media," Dr. Bond said. "Unfortunately, we don’t have time to verify everything."

Dr. Bond said this incident is the perfect example of why it's so important to fact-check information.

"Always verify the source, verify with other credible sources," Dr. Bond said. 

Dr. Bond said posts like these in this day and age can easily cause panic and people are likely to act first and ask questions later.

"You could evoke panic in other people and a larger crisis response," Dr. Bond said. 

While Dr. Bond recognizes the positive aspects of social media, he added  it can be a double-edged sword. 

"It can hit a larger audience that can create action," Dr. Bond said. "Occasionally, there’s some false news that does seep through and unfortunately, that was the case [here at Western].

Bond says posters need to consider the consequences of posting unverified information especially when it comes to active shooter situations.

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