The Real Consequences of Fake News

posted by Cliff Albert -

Honolulu Hawaii  Getty Images

Have you heard about the guy in Hawaii who knows first-hand what Fake News can mean, personally? His story is one of mistaken identity that involves an old photo and social media.

His name is Jeffery Wong and he works as an operations officer at the state of Hawaii’s emergency management office.  We’ve all heard about that office since that false alert went out to everyone in Hawaii on a recent Saturday morning that a ballistic missile was heading their way and to seek cover.

Jeffrey wasn’t at the Hawaii emergency operation center when a different employee screwed up and sent out what was supposed to be a drill.  That guy’s been fired.

Jeffrey was at a conference on a different island, Kauai, and he had nothing to do with the false alert.

But Jeffrey has come under fire on social media with derogatory and threatening comments with some calling for him to even be shot and questioning his loyalty to the United States.

Why did people think Jeffrey was responsible?  Well it seems someone on social media decided to share an old Associated Press photo taken of him last year in a story about how Hawaii was preparing for any threat from North Korea.

It didn’t take long for thousands on social media to share it and jump to the conclusion that he was the guy who sent out the fake missile alert. Police in Hawaii are now conducting an investigation into the on-line threats made against him.

Jeffery Wong has become Exhibit A in the case against social media being a place where Fake News can have Real consequences.   

(Photo credit Getty Images)

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