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    Social media continues to make impact on community

    8:39 PM, Dec 27, 2011   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- One social media reported a shooting at Park Plaza on Monday. But it was only a rumor at that time.

    On Tuesday afternoon, a shooting did occur at Park Plaza Mall.

    So where did Monday's false story originate?

    A Facebook page, known as "Forbidden Hillcrest" reported on a separate incident. The author maintained the story is accurate, but there was no shooting involved.

    In an email, he says regarding the mall incident, "It is my understanding that there was a fight on the parking deck and there were throngs of people crowding out from the mall to watch the spectacle, something happened, perhaps it sounded like a gun. I get the impression that the folks present were all posting Facebook comments about it, hence triggering what some described as a rumor. This could have happened in short amount of time, it should be no surprise that the police were not brought into it."

    THV spoke with Sgt. Cassandra Davis of the Little Rock Police Department on Tuesday.

    "Well we are familiar with the different social networking groups that are out there amongst the neighborhoods and among the social groups. And many of those websites report on crimes or rumors that they've heard of crime," Sgt. Davis said.

    Dr. Terry Richard, a professor of Sociology and Gerontology at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock said that over time, regulation may catch up.

    "We may see our laws change because our laws are kind of lagging behind in terms of this new technology as well so that we can begin to regulate and provide warnings as 'You do not do this' and 'To do this, your're illegally responsible for this -- this is a crime.' And that will really begin to create a more monitored system that doesn't have some of the wild west components to it -- it's wide-open right now," Dr. Richard said.

    But he went on to add that it's all about the freedom of taking an active role -- and verifying the facts for yourself.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "With this freedom, you also have the freedom to go check and find out -- is this true? And what's the evidence that really suggests that this is happening," Dr. Richard said.

    Even though many journalists use social media for news tips and interaction with viewers -- THV wanted to know how "trusted" is social media for local or national news?

     

     

     

     

     

     

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