Trail RCMP say erroneous Facebook post led to unwarranted frenzy

Be careful what you post on social media, because the RCMP says it can spin out of control.

Posting on social media without all the facts can make things worse, say police

Youth need to understand the implications of posting content online, police say. (Phil Warren/Flickr)

Be careful what you post on social media, because the RCMP says it can spin out of control. 

That's what happened when two women posted a photo on Facebook showing a man they believed was acting suspiciously and taking photos of them at a local restaurant. 

RCMP were investigating the incident, says Cpl. Devon Reid and it "stirred up a bit of a frenzy among Facebook users."

"There was a lot of misinformation shared and by the time everyone shared it, it was like a broken telephone game."

The Facebook photo post eventually was seen by the man's daughter in Calgary, who then alerted RCMP.

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. 

The Facebook post has now been removed.

But Cpl. Reid says youth need to understand the implications of posting content online. 

"It was a non-criminal event, what he was doing was definitely not illegal and posting it to Facebook when you don't have all the facts can make things worse," he said.

It's frustrating as a police officer, Cpl. Reid says, "but that's just what happens on social media."

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