There’s a warning tonight from the Owensboro Police Department, telling people to pause before they post.
Posts to social media could mean jail time for people behind their computer screens.
In recent days across the Tri-State there’s been an increase in social media comments about police departments. Now officers are speaking out, saying what goes on the internet can have real-life consequences.
Across local social media, comments, posts, and requests for shares have appeared, with users sharing complaints about local police departments and their officers. But once private thoughts become public, there’s a greater concern.
“Each individual social media user by their likes, their shares and their retweets, they are curating and editing their friend s social media platform and to take that responsibility seriously, to investigate and to read thoroughly the information that their share, like and retweet,” illustrated Computer Science Professor Tim Weniger.
Owensboro Police Officer Andrew Boggess says he would rather have issues with his department raised outside the online world, stating “Social media is not really the appropriate place to take those kind of things. If it’s something that police attention, the obviously the best place to go would be to call us directly.”
Boggess points out there’s more that can happen to users than angry reactions and negative comments–especially if people’s public comments are untrue.
“Filing a false report, disorderly conduct. If someone posts something of an extreme nature, you’re looking at terroristic threatening to harassment charges a lot of times are sought with things posted on social media.”
But anything that attracts the attention of police or the interest of public safety can lead to scrutiny–or arrest.
One Illinois student’s shared Snapchat post with a gun put his school on lockdown–and him in handcuffs.
“I learned my lesson I really regret what I did,” Juan Bello admitted. “If I would’ve known the consequences I would’ve thought it through and not done something like that.”
Owensboro Police Department has a number of detectives that review posts on Facebook and other social media.
Their advice? Waiting to hit send is the best practice to avoid unwanted attention.