Calhoun mayor on "fake" Facebook post: 'No snakes in sewer system'
A Facebook post created by a page originally posing as the City of Calhoun and Gordon County stated a Calhoun police officer found and killed a Copperhead snake in a sewer in front of the city's courthouse, and warned more snakes were in the sewer system.
(WRCB) -- It's been a busy week for Calhoun city officials battling rumors of snakes lurking the city's sewers.
This comes after a Facebook post stated a Calhoun police officer found a Copperhead snake in a sewer in front of the city's courthouse, and killed it. The post was created by a Facebook page posing as the City of Calhoun and Gordon County. Some were amused by the post, but others didn't find it so funny.
"A lot of people in our community were alarmed at the site of that and so forth not knowing whether to believe it or not," said Calhoun Mayor, James Palmer.
Palmer says his wife scrolled upon a post on Facebook, and called him immediately. It included three pictures of a pretty large copperhead snake, with what appeared to be a man's hand. It was shared nearly 200,000 times before the page was removed.
But it's the caption Palmer says was alarming as claimed a local officer was involved. The post also warned residents to be on the lookout for more snakes within the city's sewer system.
"I did have calls from people wanting to know if it was safe to walk on our streets and to have their kids on our street," said Palmer.
Palmer says the page used the city's logo, government seal and described itself as a "government organization." However, when Channel 3 visited the page Thursday evening its description was changed to "Comedy Club." Palmer says it's why he understands some of his residents were confused.
"(It) gave it a little credibility to it," Palmer said. "People saw and recognized that it could be put out by the city, which it was not."
The City Attorney, George Govignon sent this statement regarding the issue:
"The City of Calhoun has taken steps with Facebook through the provider's reporting methods. We are researching additional efforts that might be available. It is not the intent of the City of Calhoun to suppress any form of possibly protected satirical speech presented by the current page. The concern for the Mayor and City Council is the prevention of public confusion, panic, and concern by local residents or those traveling to Calhoun regarding events or encounters that simply have not occurred and are fictitious."
Palmer says the safety of Calhoun residents are a top priority.
"Anything that has the possibility of striking fear in the community or making people feel afraid you want to take every opportunity to prevent that."
Channel 3 looked over Facebook's policy, which says the page has to state it is not an officials page. It cannot mislead others into thinking it's an official page, violate someone's rights, or speak in the voice of or post content as if it was coming from the official brand or organization.