EDITORIAL: Social nonsense

Recent non-incident shows why Parksville Qualicum Beach residents should be wary about news items reported only on social media sites

Social media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family.

As a source for news, it can be dangerous and irresponsible.

There, we said it. While we make mistakes, the news you read in The NEWS has at least been vetted and checked to some degree, and produced by trained and experienced professionals (who labeled the front page Tuesday with a Thursday banner, we know, we know).

There are no such safeguards in place on Facebook or Twitter.

This became all too apparent in the last week when some people on Facebook tried to tell the story of a supposed ‘incident’ in Qualicum Bay.

An 11-year-old girl came back from a hike to the resort she was visiting with her family and said she was attacked by a man.

Cue the nonsense on Facebook:

A shared post detailed the story of the assault and even posted a description of the supposed perpetrator. This was a day after the original Facebook poster of this misinformation provided a description and told people to be on the lookout and call 911 if this horrible man was spotted.

Thing is, there was no man. There was no assault. The 11-year-old girl made the whole thing up. After speaking to both the resort owner and a member of the RCMP, we reported the actual truth of the matter in our Tuesday paper.

We would like to think that treatment of this ‘story’ is a better example of how to present “credible information,” a term used by Facebook posters to describe what they were sharing in regards to this (non) incident.

Facebook is great. We use our page to present thousands of photos from community events, or to give away prizes through contests, or direct people to stories or opinions in our printed product or our website. But well-meaning people who are trying to share information that turns out to be bogus can cause more harm than good.

We hope residents will use this tale as an example of just how much you can trust (not) news items that come exclusively from social media sites.

— Editorial By John Harding

Just Posted

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased in Parksville

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Map of the site of a proposed 60-unit building project in French Creek. (RDN map)
Legal counsel wants board to award development permit for French Creek project

Issue is on agenda for RDN board meeting on June 22

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Most Read