Over the weekend, a spate of rumors about a “purge” going on in Louisville, Detroit, and Chicago went viral on Twitter.
Posters with imagery from “The Purge” with a date Aug. 15 and Aug. 31 were being spread around the social media network, causing panic for some.
According to Louisville local media, Friday night went on without incident. It also appears that Detroit didn’t suffer any “purge”-related violence.
In the movies, the “purge” is a 12-hour period of time where American citizens can commit any crime they want without legal retribution.
And to make things more complicated, a fake report posted last month from Cream Bmp Daily–a “satirical” website–went viral, saying 112 people were murdered in Chicago after teens reenacted scenes from the movie. It again was being shared heavily over the weekend, but there’s not a shred of truth to it.
Cream Bmp’s disclaimer says: “CreamBmp.com Written by comedian CREAM. This website is comprised of satire and parody of current news and urban culture. For entertainment purposes only. “
KSDK-TV in Louisville reported that the whole thing was essentially a hoax.
“One lesson is that people really need to be careful about what they say on social media,” Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, told the station. “But we got through it.”
Poynter added, however, that “we take every threat seriously.”
The hoax originated when a high school student created the poster.
“It was originally supposed to be just a fun thing, I never thought it’d get as serious as it did,” said the student, who was not identified. “I was really shocked the first time I saw local media covering it.”
But, “there is a thing called Freedom of Speech, but with that comes a responsibility,” police spokesman Dwight Mitchell stressed, according the station.
“The Purge: Anarchy” was released last month, and it’s still being shown in theaters.
There were also rumors being spread in Jacksonville and Miami, Fla., which also turned out to be hoaxes.