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North Wales PCC urges people to ‘Think Before You Share’

Sharing information and opinions on social media is something that many people do on a daily basis. Often this content is completely harmless, but it’s important that people take time to think before they share any information to ensure that what they are posting about is true.

That’s the message from North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Andy Dunbobbin, who is backing the ‘Think Before You Share’ campaign, first launched in October 2023 by Merseyside PCC Emily Spurrell in partnership with local councils in the Merseyside area.

With the rollout of the bilingual campaign in North Wales, local residents are also now being urged to be cautious when accessing information on the internet and social media, and to bear in mind that not everything shown as fact on the internet is really true. The ‘Think Before You Share’ – ‘Gan Bwyll Rhag Twyll’ campaign advises people to follow a few simple steps before they share any content or information online:

  • Source – Does the information come from a trusted source? Is the person who sent it to you the originator of the information? If not, who is? Do you know them? Do you trust them? Checking these things can help you determine if a source is reliable.
  • Headline – Always read beyond the headline – they don’t always tell the full story. Always check the date and read to the end before you share articles with family and friends.
  • Analyse – If something sounds unbelievable, it very well might be. Don’t assume because something is published online its fact. Anyone can put information online and not everyone shares information for a good reason.
  • Retouched – Does the image or video look as though it has been altered? It might be edited or show an unrelated place or event.
  • Error – Look out for mistakes – typos, spelling mistakes or things that don’t make sense could indicate the information is false. Official guidance or things shared by trusted sources like the Police or the local authority will always have been carefully checked so should have no errors.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin, commented: “Two of my key pledges as PCC are delivering safer neighbourhoods and supporting victims and communities, and false and misleading information often serves only to divide society and hurt people.

“I was very impressed by the ‘Think Before You Share’ campaign from Merseyside PCC Emily Spurrell and her team and I saw the benefit to local residents here in North Wales of reminding them that not everything they see online is true and that sharing false or misleading information can be harmful. Spreading the message here in North Wales also shows how through partnering with our neighbours in the North-West of England, we can collaborate and learn from each other in helping make our communities safer.”

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said: “Social media exists in all of our lives and it is an important way for us to communicate and keep informed about things that are happening in our areas, as well as events from around the world.

“That is why it has never been more important to understand the impact misinformation, particularly malicious content, when presented as fact, can have. When shared online, often innocently, misinformation spreads very quickly and can be hugely damaging to individuals and communities.

“We all have a responsibility to stop damaging rumours from spreading, so I’m delighted that our ‘Think Before You Share’ campaign will now be rolled out in North Wales, thanks to PCC Andy Dunbobbin. With his support, we can encourage even more people to be mindful of what they are sharing online and think twice before being influenced by something they don’t know to be fact.”

DC Roheryn Evans, Cyber Crime Team, North Wales Police, added: “Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, be part of local community groups and follow subject matters that interest us. Posts can be shared from all sorts of sources making all sorts of claims regarding crime, current affairs, politics and other issues many people feel strongly about, and many of these claims may not be accurate. Clickbait is another thing to be wary of. Don’t be fooled by a sensational title or spectacular picture. Just remember, somebody might be making money off each of your clicks, or sharing information for some other purpose, so they will often try to make their posts as enticing as possible. It’s important to always think critically and consider the source of the information you read and to ‘Think Before You Share’!

“It’s also important to report when you may have had your account hacked as Police may be able to help you get it back. If we can help restore your access to your account, perhaps that will prevent somebody falling victim to a later fraud.”

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