POLICE: Social Media Posts, Rumors Had Officers Chasing False Leads

Law enforcement and ECU students are buzzing about the role social media networks like Facebook and Twitter played in Wednesday's lockdown and response.

During their press conference Wednesday, police openly criticized some users of the sites for causing law enforcement to chase false leads due to speculation and rumors. Police stopped an ECU transit bus with guns drawn looking for the alleged gunman after he was rumored to be aboard.

Many students we spoke to who left campus weren't sure what was going on during the lockdown and were frightened by rumors that a gunman was in a campus building and holding hostages, and posts saying there was a second gunman.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by c-had Location: police state nc on Nov 19, 2011 at 09:25 AM
    People on facebook are following idiots waiting for the next big thing.Excluding folks in certain occupations where it is somewhat justifiable.I dont have time for my REAL friends that live near me much less people I didnt care about in school and still dont care about now.
  • by anyman Location: washington on Nov 17, 2011 at 02:37 PM
    it could have been something as simple as a student whose paper for his 11o'clock wasn't finished
  • by TEEJ Location: Greenville on Nov 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM
    Sweet tie!
  • by Media crackpots Location: ENC on Nov 17, 2011 at 05:46 AM
    The media was responsible for blowing this thing up. Social media, TV media, etc.. The local media sensationalized all the 'rumors' without facts..... unless you consider facebook or twitter factual sources. They would put anyone on TV, and it was all a farce. The local news stations are just as responsible as the social media sites.
    • reply
      by uh on Nov 17, 2011 at 07:41 AM in reply to Media crackpots
      The problem is, when you say "the media" and include social media, tv, etc., you are indicting 800 million people. We need to learn how to interface and process this "popular misinformation" scenario. This is just a microcausm of what happens nationally as a result of social media and grass roots access to broadcasting to a world stage. Law enforcement and the general public needs a "grain of salt" policy to filter and carefully consider every bit of information provided, in this day and age, when you can be as easily manipulated by a news network as a 14 year old on an ipad from his bedroom.
  • by Wolfgang Location: Chocowinity,NC on Nov 16, 2011 at 09:15 PM
    Who called in this false report wii have a date in front of a NC Judge! Now the police will investagate!
    • reply
      by Nope on Nov 17, 2011 at 05:39 AM in reply to Wolfgang
      Wrong again little wolfy. The eyewitness believed they saw a gun, so no charges will be filed. This was no prank call. It was a concerned citizen.
  • by Anonymous Location: GVILLE on Nov 16, 2011 at 09:06 PM
    Don't look like he was walking east. Looks like he went to the store.
    • reply
      by YES on Nov 17, 2011 at 07:35 AM in reply to
      Thank you! I thought I was the only one that noticed that.
  • by uh Location: enc on Nov 16, 2011 at 08:37 PM
    This is a sticky issue- considering the comments and social media that I read through during this crisis, I would say the police did a shockingly systematic search, and hope that they did so with professionalism and care.
  • by Anonymous on Nov 16, 2011 at 07:18 PM
    Before having cops with high powered rifles crawling all over campus and the buses, maybe they should've done some old-fashioned investigating and LOOK at the tape. A closer look might've revealed that it was not a rifle but n umbrella. I respect MART law enforcement. Wearing a badge does not mean you're any good at it.
  • by George Location: Greenville on Nov 16, 2011 at 06:55 PM
    Law enforcement should have known better. Hopefully they have learned from this. Then again.... it wouldn't surprise me if they went after all of the rumor mongers on the web for spreading lies.
    • reply
      by yeah right on Nov 17, 2011 at 01:49 AM in reply to George
      that could have been anything from the view I saw on TV. Regardless, over reacting parents, girl friends were the problem too. Say what they heard not what they saw.
      • reply
        by duh on Nov 17, 2011 at 03:46 AM in reply to yeah right
        It could have been boy friends spreading the rumors also not just females but guys like to gossip also. That is how I found out about it was through a man!

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