“Think Before You Post,” Police Are Urging People To Stop Sharing RIP Posts

Call it a sign of the times: police across the country are trying to crack down on bad social media etiquette.

After running into the same problem over and over again, police departments and organizations have one simple request for you: please never post photos of car crashes on social media.

It seems that well-meaning citizens are sharing photos to keep their communities updated, especially in local news and traffic groups on Facebook, without considering the consequences of their actions.

In one case from Washington State, a woman actually learned of her husband’s death from a Facebook post, and arrived on scene before police were ready to answer her questions.

“Social media is an easy outlet for people to get information to a vast number of people instantly,” ┬áSergeant Dave DeVere told KLEW. “When someone finds out about a death of a loved one in a message, where it’s such a broad spectrum it’s very impersonal and obviously a shock to the person when they find out.”

You could just call it 21st century rubbernecking, but when families get a “death notification by social media” there can be painful consequences, as one woman reveals.

In an emotional post on Upworthy, Taya Johnson shared how much damage one careless “RIP” post on Facebook can do.

Shortly after her husband died, Johnson was busy trying to make the important arrangements that follow a person’s death – speaking to the police, making arrangements for the funeral, – while being constantly interrupted.

Someone had shared a heartfelt message about her husband, and the innocent message lead to an outpouring of grief from her friends and family. While these people meant well, this wasn’t the time or place to show it with a social media post.

“We are shocked. We are heartbroken. Give the immediate family or circle a little time to handle the immediate and time-sensitive “business” related to death,” she wrote. “In the minutes and early hours after someone passes away, social media is most likely the last thing on their minds.”

Still, people don’t seem to get the message. Last month the Ontario Provincial Police say a number of people took photos of a crash that killed 2 people, and one even livestreamedthe scene using their phone.

Share this warning about social media with your friends and family!