The Hawaii State Attorney General quelled rumors that spread rapidly on social media today regarding purported agitators coming to Hawaii to disrupt peaceful protests.
State Attorney General Clare Connors, Hawaii’s chief law enforcement official, issued a news release saying that some social media sites have recently posted false information suggesting out-of-state people are coming to Hawaii to cause trouble.
“While social media can be helpful in distributing information broadly, everyone knows there are countless examples of where social media platforms have spread misinformation through false postings,” she said. “We encourage readers and viewers to be discerning, to rely only on official sources of information and to avoid getting caught up in the dissemination of rumors and/or gossip online.”
She assures the public that “law enforcement agencies are constantly monitoring activities associated with groups and individuals planning to insert themselves inappropriately or illegally into activities in the state.”
Emails, texts and social media posts this morning spread the bogus information, and some encouraged people to stay away from the protests for their safety.
City Councilwoman Kym Pine also issued a news release saying the rumors are false. She said law enforcement officials told her that photos posted on social media supposedly showing men who came here as agitators to ruin the peaceful protests actually showed people with legitimate reasons for being in Hawaii.
The Honolulu Police Department did not respond to questions this morning about the rumors, but later tweeted that they were false. One rumor claimed that HPD had warned The Queen’s Medical Center to prepare for trauma cases.
Michael Kitchens, founder of the Facebook group Stolen Stuff Hawaii, urged its members not to repost such rumors.
Pine added, “Use the internet to share your ideas your passion and even your anger about certain things, but use it in a positive way, that will make Hawaii better for the future.”