“It only takes two seconds to share,” is a phrase used quite often as a headline for pleading Facebook posts. It is a call to action that is meant to soften even the hardest heart, getting them to share the post of the missing child or family member.
Not to sound heartless, but you know what else only takes two seconds? Actually clicking on the post and reading it. All too often, I have a Facebook friend who shares the post of a person who has been missing for over a month. However, when you click on the link, the article was updated and the person was found.
Normally, the update it posted on top of the article in big, bold lettters that the person was found safe.Yet, the post has been shared thousands of times AFTER the update.
I understand feeling the need to help somebody who might be searching for their lost loved one. Honestly, I get that. What I don’t understand is how the person who apparently wants to help cannot take two seconds to click on the link and see if that person is still missing.
One reason why sharing the imploring posts might do more harm than good is what if the post is not real? Or the one who made it does not have the best intentions once the family member is found?
Rejected ex lovers, or parents who have lost their custodial guardianship over their children could use the social media platform to send out a post asking for help finding their missing loved one. The dangerous part is what happens once the ex lover, or noncustodial parent is reunited with their loved one.
The 35-year-old mother and her two children who are missing from North Dakota - of course, this is just an example - may have ran in the middle of the night to escape an abu sive relationship. You just assisted the abuser in possibly locating them.
There is another faux pas in sharing an old, outdated missing persons post. Let’s say somebody shares a post from 2014, but nobody paid attention to the update that the child was found safe?
The mom and child are out shopping a year later, and somebody spots the “missing child.” Then, the mother has to spend hours at the police station proving that she is legally allowed to have her child.
So, before sharing that post imploring people to look for their missnig loved on, take two seconds and read the article. The person may have already been found and is at home, enjoying some hot chocolate.