Innocents misidentified as Charlottesville activists suffer backlash


False reporting has consequences and can often wreak havoc on innocent victims, as was proven following the violent rioting in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend when over-zealous “social media sleuths” tried to identify some of the activists who participated in the events.

Photos have started circulating on social media from a rally held in Charlottesville, Virginia, Friday night at which people were holding Tiki torches in Lee Park.

In an effort to identify the people in the photos and “shame” participants before their friends, employers, and colleagues, the photos have gone viral on the internet and innocent people around the country are now being misidentified as participants in the rally.

The New York Times reports that researcher Kyle Quinn from Arkansas is one of those innocent victims, and it has turned his life upside down overnight.

Quinn, who works for the Engineering Research Center at the University of Arkansas, reportedly spent Friday evening having dinner at an upscale restaurant in Bentonville with his wife and a colleague and visited an art exhibition.

On Saturday, he discovered he had been falsely identified as being a participant at a “white nationalist rally” in Charlottesville, Virginia. A man seen in the photos looked eerily similar to him and was wearing an “Arkansas Engineering” t-shirt.

Soon, Quinn was being bombarded with threatening and vulgar messages on Twitter and Instagram from people he didn’t even know. The social media bullies posted his home address and accused him of being racist and threatened that he would lose his job.

Due to the barrage of threats, and the fact that their home address was made public, Quinn and his wife had to seek refuge with a colleague as they feared for their safety.

“I’ve dedicated my life to helping all people, trying to improve health care and train the next generation of scientists, and this is potentially throwing a wrench in that,” Quinn said.

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