Local Water Park Falls Victim to Internet Rumors
Knight’s Action Park, a popular water park in Springfield, is just the latest and closest to home in a long list of organizations affected by the spread of unsubstantiated internet rumors. Though the original Facebook post with false claims has since been deleted and the person who made the post issued an apology, Knight’s Action Park says, after thousands of shares on that post in just a few hours, the damage has been done.
It’s a daily routine at Knight’s Action Park, testing the chlorine and pH levels to make sure the water is safe for customers.
“I’m running about four parts per million on the chlorine, which is what the state allows on the high end,” said Dough Knight, co-owner of Knight’s Action Park. “I’m running about 7.3 for pH. I’m allowed 7.2 to 7.6”
That testing wasn’t enough to shield this business from the epidemic of clicking “share” before doing any homework.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” Knight said.
Making its rounds on social media: A post warning people about “bad bacteria that eats flesh” claiming that a toddler was infected at Knight’s Action Park with potentially fatal injuries.
“I was informed when 40 people were sharing,” said Knight. “Fifteen minutes later there was close to 500 people that were sharing. I was like, ‘I gotta do something.'”
It’s unconfirmed reports like these, shared thousands of times, that can have a devastating effect on businesses, but something the victims can’t really do much about.
“You generally have to prove what your damages are and how do we prove that your damages are 10,000, 100,000, or 150,000 based upon these posts,” said Jason Vincent, an attorney at Delano Law Offices in Springfield. “It’s virtually impossible.”
Even possibly life-threatening consequences, as seen in the “Pizzagate” incident where a man shot up a D.C. pizza parlor after false claims of running a child sex trafficking ring connected to the Clinton campaign.
“I don’t know of a proper venue though for a business to protect themselves other than to go on the Facebook or the Yelp or something like that to try and help them,” said Vincent.
Harassment, harmed reputations, negative financial impacts, and more are all consequences in the spread of misinformation.
HSHS St. John’s Hospital and Memorial Medical Center both confirmed no patient has received treatment for flesh-eating bacteria within the past 24 hours. Springfield Clinic has not released any information.
Source: Fox Illinois