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Terrifying rumors initially propelled by Facebook's algorithms have sparked fears that men driving white vans are kidnapping women all across the United States for sex trafficking and to sell their body parts. While there is no evidence to suggest this is happening, much less on a national, coordinated scale, a series of viral Facebook (FB) posts created a domino effect that led to the mayor of a major American city issuing a warning based on the unsubstantiated claims.
The latest online-induced panic shows how viral Facebook posts can stoke paranoia and make people believe that spotting something as common as a white van, can be deemed suspicious and connected to a nationwide cabal. "Don't park near a white van," Baltimore Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young said in a TV interview on Monday. "Make sure you keep your cellphone in case somebody tries to abduct you." The mayor said he had not been told of the apparent threat by Baltimore Police but said it was "all over Facebook."
That was hilarious!! I'm used to people blindly forwarding stuff on WhatsApp and am sure that the same thing happens on Facebook, but it's really stupid for someone in that position to succumb to this.
I suppose a lot of his propaganda prior to election was on Facebook --- now he sees it as a holy grail or oracle.
The FB farce/hoax I am seeing now is the ones about white vans with special "outside locks" on the doors so that sex traffickers can kidnap you and "lock you in". These vans also have no windows in the backs and sometimes have cages in them!!!!!!
Well obviously these people posting these things have never really had to work for a living using their hands while providing transportation for the tools you use to make your living. They probably have also never had their tools they use to make their living stolen out of their cars or vans because someone broke the windows out to get into the vans interior. So they make an assumption that these locks must be evil.....
"But why do they need these exterior locks that you can put a padlock on?????" "Why can't they just use the locks that came with the vehicle???" Probably because those locks are only used to keep the lazy thief out. The professional or experienced thief knows with just a simple crowbar or sometimes just a long screwdriver, these factory locks can be bypassed in mere seconds and the contents of your vans stolen while you are eating lunch.
"But what about those cages inside????" Well here's a thought. When you are traveling down the road at 55 MPH. EVERYTHING in your vehicle is also traveling at 55 MPH. When you have a sudden stop, like an accident, unless those things are strapped down, they travel at 55 MPH until they hit something that stops them. It becomes even worse in a roll-over accident. The cage is there to protect the occupants, much like seat belts are. Also since you can't eliminate all windows and still be practicable, the cage keeps the tools safely locked up in case someone breaks a front window to try to steal the tools.
So you can see the danger in spreading false information without knowing the multiple, or intended purposes of objects. Sure these vans COULD be used for human kidnapping and trafficking, but like most other things in life, if you do not have knowledge of the complete situation it easier to make a fool of yourself.
Now that doesn't mean I am advocating for not being aware of your surroundings. Yes be wary of people sitting in vans next to your car, be aware if you see something suspicious. But don't spread false fear based on incomplete knowledge of a subject. I tell people all the time, if you want to learn how to hack, learn how stuff works. Then you can find the spot you are most likely to be able to interrupt the normal, expected process. Or contemplate how a bad person might be able to do it as well so you can work on preventive measures.