Fake FB post about minor boy's kidnap and murder goes viral, receives over 7.5k shares before it's flagged as fake

The FB post had Mumbai police worried and condolences flew in before anyone knew what hit them.

The Internet has slowly evolved into a place where people can make anything and everything go viral, more often than not without even stopping to check what’s authentic and what’s not. This is exactly what happened when a recent FB post by user Zain Shaikh had Mumbai police on their toes.

Facebook user Zain Shaikh put up a fake message on Sunday claiming a minor boy had been kidnapped and murder. He topped this up with the declaration of this boy being his nephew and social media jumped to his and his nephew’s rescue, or so they assumed. The post received over 7.5k shares before it was flagged as fake and the user then vanished from Facebook.

Mumbai police imediately asked the cyber crime cell to conduct an inquiry to figure out who was behind this hoax and also the motive behind it. Some experts are of the opinion that this could have been a way to spread terror. The fake posts flowed in one after the other with the accused giving information about who kidnapped the boy and how a police complain would be filed soon.

Speaking on the incident, ex-state DGP D Sivanandhan said that the social web is being used to spread terror and take revenge and that police must stop to think before taking action in such matters. He said he is left wondering what action police would have taken unless someone filed a case in this matter.

Condolence messages flew in and it was when the fake profile posted the picture of a huge crowd at the funeral, suspected to be a photo from Yakub Memon’s burial, that his fraud was called out. This is not the first time such a faux pas has happened via social media. Mandira Bedi’s husband Raj Kaushal had been booked in 2011 for starting a rumour on Twitter about “broken cables” on the Bandra-Worli sea link.

While most people on social media take it up as a weapon for armchair activism and some even genuinely look at it as a way to help, verifying material we share is always a smarter way. It is also the police’s responsibility to get to the bottom of suhc cases and not let the brain behind such activity get away. Such fiascos only go on to show how everything on social media cannot be taken on face value and can sometimes end up wasting law enforcers’ valuable time.