Using the reach of social media to look for missing people can be effective.
There have been several cases whereby people posted “missing person” images and found the missing person through the collective crowd-sourcing channel. In fact, even police worldwide are using this method to complement their search efforts.
And add to the fact that netizens tend to share these “missing people” posts to show how kind they are to help in any way they can, posts like these usually get viral fast.
But what if you’ve depended so much on this method and you’ve forgotten to use the most traditional method: asking your closed one where the “missing person” is? Or you’re so blinded by the desire to help that you didn’t even stop to think for a while?
This is exactly what happened recently.
Post of Missing Boy Went Viral
On Wednesday (8 May 2019), this post went viral.
And just so you know, the account is a new account created specifically for the missing boy—the name is of the boy and the profile image is of, you’ve guessed it right, the boy, too.
With a contact number of the father and a police report number, one can conclude that it’s real.
After all, there’s no incentive to lie about it, right?
Plus, with the fact that he has been missing for 38 days, there sure is a sense of urgency.
Someone then decided to do the right thing: instead of merely just sharing, she took the effort to search through SPF database for missing child, and then emailed the school (most likely based on the uniform).
The school then called her and told her that it is a family matter.
A Facebook user also echoed that statement (though we’re not sure if he’s related to the boy):
Mothership Sailed to the Rescue
Well, actually, Mothership’s here to show you the truth. They contacted the police who told them that someone did indeed make a police report on 1 April 2019; however, their investigations showed that the boy wasn’t missing. Instead, he had left the country with her mother even before the report was made.
Here’s SPF statement in full:
On 1 April 2019 at 7.45pm, the Police received a missing person report. Investigations revealed that the 7-year-old boy had left Singapore together with his mother before the police report was lodged. Based on the preliminary investigation, the Police do not suspect that the boy is a victim of crime.
Having said that, there was no “missing boy” right from the start.
But why? Who started this “witch hunt”?
Questionable Facebook Profile
As mentioned earlier, people tend to share posts of “missing person” to either help out or to show others that they’re kind (i.e. humblebragging).
In a quest to help (or humblebrag), they’ve forgotten to think critically; that is, if a person’s missing, won’t it be posted by a worried loved one instead of a new account that bears the name of the missing person?
The lesson here’s simple: don’t be blinded by the desire to help (or humblebrag), and always think twice before you share anything.
Because the last I check, there are over 11K Shares on that post – no wonder the Government has to come out with the fake news laws.
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