Concerns grow over unconfirmed social media posts, SAPS say

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The South African Police Service (SAPS) continue to warn the public of unconfirmed information currently being circulated on various social media platforms. Police caution users against such information including video clips depicting child kidnappings and abductions.

Police state that “since these postings started going viral, [we have]been trying to confirm if those depictions did or did not occur in any part of South Africa.”

Police assert that there remains no evidence to suggest that these incidents are factual and occurred in South Africa.

“By now, besides reporting this to the police, one would have expected at least a family would have come forward to publicly confirm at least one of those videos to be legitimate. Secondly the police will never know that these incidents really happened if they are not officially reported. Therefore the only reasonable conclusion we can draw from this is that these videos are hoaxes.”

Police state that some of these video clips may be re-enactments, as the location or other details cannot be deciphered.

“We are appealing to social media users to act responsibly”, stated police. “And verify information before posting sharing, as such postings do nothing more than cause unnecessary panic and paranoia among our communities.”

“Social media, when utilized responsibly, is an important communication platform that assists the police in combatting crime and arresting criminals.”

[SAPS] assures of ongoing awareness and safety education initiatives at various institutions and schools to better protect community youth.

“While the recent social media postings remain unconfirmed, it is a reality that children do go missing. Therefore, parents and guardians are urged to exercise vigilance at all times.”

“An urgent appeal is made to people in instances where they suspect a crime may have been committed or anything suspicious has occurred to contact the police first to verify such information. In cases where children are involved, the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) may be contacted as well as the sector manager of a particular area.”

“Discuss your concerns and let us together make informed decisions before posting on social media. Members of the community may call the police’s Crime Stop number, 08600 10111 and all information received will be treated with the strictest confidentiality.”

 

Previously reported on 6 September:

POLICE WARN SOCIAL MEDIA USERS TO VERIFY INFORMATION BEFORE POSTING ON CHATS 

Police have appealed to social media users to refrain from posting unverified information on social media sites.

This comes after two unrelated incidents were circulating on social media platforms yesterday, Wednesday, 5 September 2018, warning community members of incidents of kidnapping of children in and around the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro (PE, Motherwell and Uitenhage) .

Police [would]also like to allay fears on social media that no truck was stopped that was used in transporting children [in the]suspicion of trafficking between Nanaga and Port Elizabeth. However police wish to state that a small van was stopped that was conveying illegal immigrants. The case is being dealt with by the Hawks.

In a statement issued Thursday afternoon (6 September) SAPS Corporate Communication said, “There [is]a lot of information circulating around [concerning]the abduction of children, and [the police]acknowledge your fear as parents.

“Police would like to commend the public on their vigilance regarding safety while at the same time we must be cautious how information is relayed on social media without verification. Distortion of facts can have dire consequences and cause unnecessary panic and mayhem in the community.”

SAPS acknowledged that social media is an important communication platform that assists police in combating crime and arresting criminals.

“The South African Police Service assures the community that continuous awareness and educational talks on the safety of our children are done at schools and institutions.

“An urgent appeal is made to people in instances where you suspect a crime may have been committed or anything suspicious to contact the police first to verify such information.”

In cases where children are involved, the Family Violence Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) would be engaged.

“Discuss your concerns and let us together make informed decisions before posting on social media. Be assured that all information is treated with the utmost urgency.”

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