Hudson Valley Police Flagged by Facebook for Misleading Posts
Hudson Valley police departments are now being policed by Facebook for spreading false information.
It's no news that harmful misinformation is constantly being spread on Facebook. But that's not something you'd expect coming from your local police department. The police are supposed to help protect citizens from scams and lies, not spread them.
New York Police Departments Untruthful on Facebook
We reported several incidents where police departments were found disseminating information that was either misleading or just completely false. Earlier this year several Facebook pages controlled by law enforcement from different parts of the country were sharing blatantly false information that exaggerated the danger of fentanyl.
Warnings about dollar bills laced with fentanyl being left on bathroom floors and incorrect information about small amounts of the drug being deadly, if touched, have all been debunked. But that didn't stop many local police departments from broadcasting this information on their pages, as well as sharing stories about officers "overdosing" when being exposed to the drug, something that has also been proven as scientifically impossible.
Several Hudson Valley Police Departments Caught Spreading False Information
Another round of false posts began circulating after Thanksgiving by several Hudson Valley police departments.
The posts, which incorrectly stated the dangers of NameDrop, a new iPhone feature, were quickly debunked. That didn't stop local police from doubling down on the posts and other municipalities from continuing to share it.
Versions of the post were spread by the Rockland County Sheriff's Department, Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati, the Orange County Sheriff's Office, the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the Town of Wallkill Police Department and several other town and city police departments.
Police Called Out by Angry Citizens
The posts were immediately criticized by the public for being published without due diligence. The warnings drastically exaggerate the dangers of the iPhone feature and fail to explain that it does not allow strangers to obtain any information from your phone without your express permission.
Facebook user, Jon Bee, was frustrated by the information shared in the Dutchess County Sheriff's post.
Are you going to share the whole story or just enough to scare the people who scare easily? NameDrop won’t just “provide someone with your contact info”.
There is plenty more information about this already available from reputable sources.
After seeing a similar post made by the Orange County Sheriff's Office, Jonathan Redeker attempted to set the record straight.
Disinformation campaign thanks to clickbait articles. This is fear mongering. Many steps have to take place for this to work. And the only thing people can get is the equivalent of a business card - whatever you put in your contact card.
Over a week later, the post is still on pages run by the Orange County and Dutchess County Sheriff's Departments.
Facebook Flags Incorrect Information Posted by Police
Facebook has attempted to stop the spread of this false information by flagging posts by police departments that include misleading information about the iPhone NameDrop feature.
A post by the Rockland County Sheriff's Department now contains a "Missing context" warning.
Other police departments are now beginning to receive similar warnings on their misleading posts about the NameDrop feature.
Don't Trust Just Anything You Read on Facebook
Safety experts say to take any information you find on Facebook with a grain of salt. Unfortunately, that also seems to go for official accounts run by law enforcement agencies. While those accounts are verified, they are still run by humans who are susceptible to being fooled by misinformation and duped into sharing it with others.
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Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor