The 12 and 13-year old girls who posted a photo on Facebook of a man they thought was taking photos of them are now the victims of social media backlash.

RCMP in Trail, B.C. released a statement last week warning social media users to leave the police work to officers after they saw the Facebook post that erroneously identified the man as a pedophile. Police say they found no evidence of wrongdoing and the man appeared to have been simply reading the newspaper while also having his phone out.

RCMP officer Sergeant Darren Olke told CBC Radio's Daybreak South that one Facebook post had a "lasting effect," on the small community.

"I think it proved to be very negative for a lot of people," he said. "My understanding is there has also been some backlash against these young girls who posted it."

Innocent man held at grocery store

By posting the photo on social media, the girls gave other people in town the opportunity to take the law into their own hands.

Not only was the man in the Facebook post innocent, but a clerk at a local grocery store mistakenly identified a customer as the person in the post, which led to an altercation, according to Olke.

The owners held the man at the store until police arrived and confirmed the clerk had made a mistake — one that was based on the erroneous Facebook post.

'It was really a case of mistaken identity right from the start," said Olke.

"It kind of shows how these things can can go sideways from an initial labelling people on social media and how it can affect so many people down the road."

With files from CBC Radio's Daybreak South


To listen to the full interview, click the link labelled: Erroneous Facebook post leads to backlash against girls in Trail.

With files from Bob Keating