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MU campus threats: social media fact and fiction

On Wednesday, ABC 17 News dug deeper into claims made on social media that created panic on the University of Missouri campus.

MUPD arrested the person responsible for a threat made on Yik Yak Tuesday night, but other claims were being made that ABC 17 News has found to be untrue.

It started with several tweets and a Facebook post swirling around on social media sites Tuesday night from Mizzou Student Association President Payton Head.

The post read “Students, please take precaution. Stay away from the windows in residence halls. The KKK has been confirmed to be sighted on campus. I’m working with the MUPD, the state trooper and the National Guard.”

The post led to wide spread concern as the message was shared and tweeted out multiple times.

Shortly after, Head deleted the post and made a second status update saying, “I’m sorry about the misinformation that I have shared through social media. In a state of alarm, I was concerned for all students of the University of Missouri and wanted to ensure that everyone was safe. I received and shared information from multiple incorrect sources, which I deeply regret. The last thing needed is to incite more fear in the hearts of our community. In the future, please receive emergency updates from or @MUalert on Twitter ONLY.”

ABC 17 News reached out to the Missouri State Highway Patrol regarding that first post. Sergeant Scott White with MSHP said the patrol was never in contact with Head and that the patrol would never contact a student regarding incidents like that. He said they would immediately team up with MUPD to investigate.

Twitter began blowing up again as Jonathan Butler, the Mizzou Hunger Striker, was tweeting about death threats. Others also chimed in, demanding the University cancel classes, even after MUPD arrested 19-year-old Hunter Park early Wednesday morning for making threats on Yik Yak.

There were other posts circulating about the KKK on campus that were not true. Some of those tweets came from a fake MU Alert Twitter page. The fake page was reported Wednesday night.

ABC 17 News spoke to Major Brian Weimer with MUPD Wednesday night. He said if there are any direct or immediate threats, the information will be put on the MU Alert page, as well as the MU Alert Twitter page.

Weimer said all targeted threats on social media have been and will continue to be investigated.

MUPD said it wants to stress the importance of referring to MU Alert for factual safety information and not rumors on social media.

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