WALTON COUNTY Fla. (WMBB) — Social media often provides a community of sorts to share important information, but there are times where false details are shared causing problems.
This posting of false details seems to be reaching a fever pitch in Walton County, and Sheriff Michael Adkinson is not happy about it.
“I think you can tell from my voice, I’m over it,” he said in an interview. “I’m really just over it.”
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office motto is “commitment to excellence,” something Adkinson said his office strives to provide in emergencies. Although more recently, rumor control has been added to their long list of protocols.
“We literally spend uncounted man hours going behind people saying, ‘No that’s not true, you said there were 200 burglaries, no that’s not true, you said someone was shot here, not that’s not true’,” Adkinson said.
Although it has been problematic for the WCSO, Adkinson said it is worse for family members when they learn about a loved one’s death through social media.
“I’m not sure why you believe it’s your personal responsibility and right to inform the family of the deceased on how their loved one died when you know nothing about it,” he said.
Even if you are not the one initiating the post, Adkinson explains that sharing it has been part of the problem.
To confirm the facts, before informing families, residents’ posts have been made public first. Within the past few weeks regarding active shooters in hospitals and of untrue reasoning for fatalities, all of which WCSO said was false.
“We work very hard to move very quickly in a reasonable time frame to give you the appropriate information, it’s vetted and accurate,” Adkinson said. “Being first doesn’t make you right, it just means you are first.”