If you’ve read any fake news stories lately there’s a good chance you found it on Facebook. That’s because too many people who don’t actually know the facts about something share inaccurate stories on the social media site and they go viral.
You’d think with all the blunders Facebook has had over the last few years, people would stop using the site altogether. Shockingly, that’s not the case. There are still nearly 2 billion active monthly users.
Now, there is a kidnapping hoax spreading across Facebook and tons of people are falling for it. Sound familiar? Tap or click here to see a recent Facebook hoax promising huge savings at Costco. Don’t fall for it. Keep reading and we’ll explain what’s going on.
Kidnapping hoax goes viral
Facebook’s algorithms appear to be behind the latest hoax that has gone viral. And this one is terrifying people across the U.S.
Tons of posts have been shared over the past couple of months claiming men driving white vans are kidnapping women for sex trafficking. Some of the posts go so far as to claim the kidnappers are selling the victim’s body parts.
Things got real serious earlier this week when Baltimore Mayor Bernard Young sparked the flames of fear by spreading the story during a TV interview.
Young stated, “We’re getting reports of somebody in a white van trying to snatch up young girls for human trafficking and for selling body parts, I’m told, so we have to really be careful, because there’s so much evil going on, not just in the city of Baltimore but around the country.”
He later explained Baltimore police didn’t tell him about the threat, but it was “all over Facebook.”
The problem is there is no actual evidence this is happening in Baltimore or anywhere else in the U.S. After the mayor’s interview, a spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department told CNN Business they had not received “any reports of actual incidents.”
Baltimore isn’t the only city in America where the white van hoax has gone viral. Georgia police have asked the public to call 911 if they have something suspicious to report, like a scary white van, instead of posting it on Facebook.
Also, there was a recent report by local media in Detroit where a home improvement specialist claimed he had been harassed for driving a white van after the hoax started spreading on Facebook. This can be dangerous for innocent people who happen to drive white vans.
Just remember, not everything you see on social media is true. In fact, with its shady history, you can bet much of it is false information.