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How misinformation on the Spooky Nook Sports incident quickly spread online

Misinformation about the incident quickly spread on the internet, offering more proof to the phrase “just because you read it online, doesn’t mean it’s true."
Credit: WPMT

MANHEIM, Pa. — Misinformation about the Spooky Nook incident quickly spread on the internet, offering more proof to the phrase, “just because you read it online doesn’t mean it’s true.”

Rumors, however, are like wildfire, and once sparked are hard to contain.

Social media posts immediately following the incident around 2:20 p.m. described very different scenes.

One Facebook post read, “A neighbor told me there was a shooting at the spooky nook sports complex. Roads are blocked off.”

A neighbor told me there was a shooting at the spooky nook sports complex. Roads are blocked off.

Posted by Jackie Houser Leedom on Sunday, August 1, 2021

Another said, “There wasn’t a shooting however a player did pull out a gun.”

Credit: WPMT

A third wrote, “Obviously all rumors but I heard that there was a fight and someone threw a chair that sounded like a gunshot and that’s what made everyone run. Again, another rumor.”

Credit: WPMT

Even the Southern Maryland Youth Basketball League posted a video at 3:21 p.m. with the caption, “Here’s the footage of shooting at Spooky Nook Today!” By the end of the day the post had been viewed more by than 75,000 people.

The rumors proved false when at 4:50 p.m. East Hempfield Township Police posted that they had no evidence of a shooting.

Like most internet rumors, the ones posted about the incident had a kernel of truth. Police wrote that “several people reported hearing a gunshot.” However no one confirmed seeing a gun and no one was hurt by gunfire, police said.

The best way to combat misinformation, experts said, is to go to official sources such as police.

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