Many people in the Gold Coast neighborhood woke up to an unexpected surprise on August 10th, 2020. For those who didn’t catch the news, many literally walked into it: The aftermath of an unexpected looting spree.
Torn-apart containers ripped from cash registers and ATMs then discarded once emptied. Broken glass everywhere. The occasional alarm still going off. Trash everywhere. A heavy police presence.
What led to this event? Criminals weaponizing false information on social media.
An adult man fired shots at officers, who returned fire in defense. He is expected to live.
Stories on social media began to claim that the suspect was a minor and unarmed. This story continued to spread the next day. In one instance, the Chicago Police Twitter account called it out.
Some criminals took this opportunity to encourage looting the downtown again. After all, there were little to no consequences for the majority of the looters last May.
The moment with perhaps the greatest political ramifications in the aftermath was the Black Lives Matter Chicago leader who condoned the behavior.
My wife struggled with fear the last time looters came and trashed our neighborhood. After spending time in prayer about it, she knew what needed to be done the morning after they returned.
If there is one thing that you need to remember from this article, it is this:
Bad people will weaponize false information.
This is why posting possibly false information publicly on social media isn’t just wrong.
It is sometimes dangerous.