There’s a man in Eugene, Oregon who drives around in a white work van for his business. One day, he drives by the University of Oregon and hears a girl’s scream. It turns out that the girl in question was intoxicated and the man goes on his merry way. However, an unknown bystander puts two and two together and comes up with five. They record the man’s van driving away thinking that he has a girl hostage in the van. Rather than going to police with the video, the video is instead shared to TikTok warning other UO students that there’s a predator loose on campus.
Of course, the video was shared ad infinitum to the point where the man is being harassed wherever he goes. Police have investigated the man, and have cleared him of any wrongdoing, but the video still lives on social media being shared by less than critical thinkers. This leads to continued harassment of an innocent man.
While I can applaud the person taking the video for quick thinking, sharing it to TikTok without any kind of investigation is irresponsible and harmful. Not only could irreparable damage be done to this man’s career and reputation, but there have been instances in the past where falsely accused people have taken their own lives due to the backlash.
So, if you’ve witnessed a crime and recorded it on your phone, take it to the police and let them do their job instead of whipping an internet mob into a frenzy. You might think this would be common sense, but in the era of clout chasing it obviously isn’t.