CARLSBAD, N.M. — A fake social media post about more than a dozen men involved in multiple kidnappings of children caused a stir recently in one southeastern New Mexico city.

In posts spread across Facebook, several users claimed 16 men recently were arrested for their supposed roles in kidnappings of children from a Walmart in the Carlsbad, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports (https://goo.gl/ziv71x).

The posts were shared a number of times last week. But the Carlsbad Police Department debunked the rumor on Facebook.

Police say the kidnapping and stalking allegations were false, and that no investigation or arrests were undertaken by the department.

Detective Jon Blackmon said the post originated from a female user outside of Carlsbad. “Those accusations are not true. It didn’t happen here,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon said Carlsbad police saw the post and promptly investigated it. He said investigators quickly found that no reports or arrests matching the post were made.

He said making a false allegation of a crime can be a crime itself, depending on the case.

Roswell police also dismissed the post.

Roswell Police Department spokesman Todd Wildermuth said the city has had no complaints, reports or arrests of the supposed crimes.

He said the department is aware of the post, but not of any fact to support it.

“You can get anything on social media,” Wildermuth said. “That’s kind of uncontrollable.”

Carlsbad and Eddy County were plagued in June by a false social media post that alleged a man was arrested for killing his wife and three children.

Identical posts from at least 10 counties across the country were found by Current-Argus staff, and county and city law enforcement in those areas denied the incident happened within their jurisdictions.

Facebook has been trying to stem the tide of misleading information by working with The Associated Press and other news organizations to review suspect stories and set the record straight when warranted.

The Menlo Park, California-based Facebook also has provided its nearly 2 billion users ways to identify posts believed to contain false information, something that Google is now allowing users of its search engine to do for some of the news snippets featured in its results.


Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus, http://www.currentargus.com/

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