It would probably be worth spending a few extra minutes to confirm the identity of someone’s life you set out to ruin. In this day and age, with the internet and social media, it’s quite easy for anyone to post anything as fact and not be questioned at all.
I suppose when it’s something benign like a funny story or perhaps sharing a recipe, nobody really gets hurt and we can accept it as a consequence of the information superhighway. However, the way things go viral so quickly these days, if you are about to ruin a life, check your facts.
The events of last weekend in Charlottesville were disturbing to most rational people. White supremacists were originally there to rally against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. As could have probably been predicted with a hate group like this, things turned ugly. The group widened their rally cry to include attacks against other races, religions and the LGBT community.
Then, in a horrifying act of violence, a man drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters, killing one and injuring 19 others. News of the attack certainly drew more attention to the rally than it would have gotten otherwise. Pictures of the event were everywhere, and white supremacists were exposed in the media.
However, the white supremacists weren’t exactly wearing name badges, and hence began the search for their identities based on identifying features from the pictures. Using social media and internet resources, one man was misidentified as a white supremacist and that has had major consequences.
H/T Daily Wire
“Leftists on social media sites, viewing pictures of the white supremacist rally on Saturday in Charlottesville, Virginia, decided they would target one participant and make his life a living hell.
They got the wrong man.
Kyle Quinn, who supervises a laboratory dedicated to wound-healing research at the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, discovered on Saturday that leftists had misidentified him as one of the white supremacists at the rally 1,000 miles away from where he lived.
One man rallying with the white supremacists had been photographed wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” shirt; leftists found a photograph of Quinn that bore a facial resemblance to the rallygoer, and then they went to work.
Quinn was targeted with vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram, according to The New York Times. The messages accused him of being a racist, said he should be fired, and worst, posted his home address. Some tweets read “don’t let your kids near him” and “dude doesn’t need to be teaching anywhere” along with his picture. Quinn issued tweets saying that he wasn’t the man in the picture, that he was never in Virginia that weekend, and that he championed diversity at the University of Arkansas.
Quinn and his wife stayed with a colleague over the weekend; he said, “You have celebrities and hundreds of people doing no research online, not checking facts. I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that.”
Mark Popejoy, an art director in Bentonville, Arkansas, tried to stem the onslaught of Twitter accounts inaccurately identifying Quinn, asserting that the University of Arkansas had confirmed that Mr. Quinn was not involved.
Popejoy said that despite his correcting of the record, some Twitter users refused to give up their pursuit of Quinn.”
This poor guy. On the internet, once misinformation is out there and gone viral, it’s virtually impossible to undo it. No matter how hard he tries to stop the tidal wave of judgement directed at him, it really can’t be stopped.
I can’t imagine the anxiety this man feels for himself and his family as his address circulates among those who think he is a monster. This fake claim could follow him for a long time as information is shared and not corrected. He surely fears for his physical safety even more than the complete demolition of his reputation. Sounds like a nightmare.