Fake Amber Alerts: Welcome to 2009
A couple days ago, a message on twitter was being retweeted repeatedly.
‘AMBER ALERT: 7yr old taken by man driving a newer silver truck. LP #*2*3*1′
I always get chills when an Amber Alert flashes across the television screen or is retweeted on Twitter. Sometimes, there is a happy ending to the story as there was five days ago:
‘AMBER ALERT Hanna Renee McBride, 6 yo/3ft/blue eyes/brown hair with Matthew Dylan Davis, 28 yo/W/M/ 215 lb, Grey Pickup DFW’
‘They found your amber alert girl: http://is.gd/iHop‘
Sometimes, the ending is not so great.
The Amber Alert that was tweeted and texted to people was a fake. Why someone would want to fake an Amber Alert is beyond me. This person was playing people for who they are: caring individuals trying to help as best as they can.
One of the benefits of a site like twitter is how quickly word can spread throughout the twitter community. From Carl Pohlad’s passing, to the Hudson River plane crash; those are both events that I found out about on twitter even before many news stations and sites were covering the story. Amber Alerts do pass through twitter on occasion, because it is so easy to share with your followers by retweeting the message. I honestly believe that people are more aware of their surroundings when they become aware of an Amber Alert. We all want the kid to be safe and out of harms way.
I hope two things come of this: the person responsible for creating the fake Amber Alert is made an example and punished harshly for their actions; and that the people out there that do follow and trust the Amber Alerts they see do not change their perception on them. All Amber Alerts need to be taken seriously. The alert system has brought back countless children to safety because people were vigilant and took on a role of responsibility. If the system is not trusted, the system will not work.