MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – After chaos erupted following a large fight at Broadway at the Beach on the Fourth of July, many were unsure of what really happened that night.
According to the Myrtle Beach Police Department, there was no shooting that took place and there was never an active shooter situation.
However, even after those reports came out, social media still played a large role in creating confusion and panic through false posts on Facebook and Twitter.
“We had several individuals that said there were bullet holes and speculation of things that were out there, but each time as we were able to evaluate the information and investigate the information and each time we were able to determine it was not a shooting situation it went right back to being a fight call,” said Myrtle Beach Police Captain Joey Crosby.
Kyle Holody, a social media expert and professor at Coastal Carolina University, has studied the influence of social media for several years and explained how people consume misinformation and share that information as fact.
“We are very quick to believe things, but we’re also quick to believe things even if they’re untrue,” said Holody.
Holody said this has a lot to do with something researchers call “the problem of thought,” the idea that humans tend to come to a conclusion about something very quickly based on the existing knowledge, and then don’t change their mind even when presented the correct information.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune expressed the importance of verifying information before sharing it throughout social media.
“It takes a situation that is already unfortunate and blows it out of proportion into a way that doesn’t help anyone,” said Bethune.
Captain Crosby said the police department does monitor social media sites as often as they can, but if people see anything that seems unsafe they should call police.
This is an ongoing investigation and anyone with more information is asked to call the Myrtle Beach Police Department.
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