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With Hurricane Florence coming, FEMA continues fight against rumors

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) -- It happens so quickly: A click, a like, a share.

Social media posts spread quickly and could reach thousands in a matter of moments but if that post is a rumor or incorrect, the consequences could be dire. 

8News spoke with FEMA, where a team is working to squash rumors spreading online and make sure people in Hurricane Florence's path get the necessary information to stay safe. 

"We've found a lot of ways people get their information now is through social media," said Corey Demuro, a FEMA external affairs officer. 

In a situation with severe weather and natural disasters, getting information on social media can mean life or death. 

"We actually have a full-time staff that participate in social media we're constantly retweeting, sharing information," said Demuro. 

A Facebook post shows gridlocked traffic with the caption that reads: "I-95 North Route to Richmond"

The post has been shared more than 100,000 times since Tuesday. The issue with the post: it's not a picture from Richmond. 

The photo is used by the Federal Highway Administration to demonstrate gridlock on Interstate 45 in Houston during the evacuations for Hurricane Rita in 2005. 

Still, the post still continues to get clicks and shares.  

"I think it's definitely up to citizens to help stop rumors," Demuro told 8News. "If they see something that's incorrect say it's incorrect."

During Hurricane Florence, FEMA will have a webpage dedicated to what is called "Rumor Control."

"It's not a new thing for FEMA, typically on disasters we set up a rumor page," said Demuro.

Next time you like, comment or share, remember to check the source.

"Look for local and official sources for information," Demuro advised. "It's very important that we go to the official sources of information to stop rumors."


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