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Stopping Conspiracy Theories: Social Media Giants Face Pressure

Stopping Conspiracy Theories: Social Media Giants Face Pressure

Despite requests from police and Ms. Bulley’s friends, social media platforms continue to host false claims, conspiracy theories, and other highly speculative content about the case.

Superintendent Sally Riley said police would take a hard line on people abusing witnesses or breaking into buildings

Social media giants are under increasing pressure to stop the widespread dissemination of conspiracy theories and false information regarding the investigation into the disappearance of Nicola Bulley.

Despite pleas from police and Ms. Bulley’s friends, platforms such as TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook continue to host false claims, conspiracy theories, and other highly speculative content about the case.

Both Labour and Conservative politicians have stated that it poses a grave threat and demonstrates the need for the government to combat the influence of social media platforms with its long-awaited Online Safety Bill.

Critics have previously accused the government of watering down its approach to “legal but harmful” content in legislation that is currently moving through the legislative process.

Two weeks have passed since Ms. Bulley, 45, vanished in St. Michael’s on Wyre, Lancashire, shortly after dropping off her two young daughters at school and walking her springer spaniel Willow.

ALSO READ: Nicola Bulley: Third Week of Hunt Uncovers Insights from Partner’s Interview

The police believe there was no involvement from a third party and that Ms. Bulley fell into the river by accident.

Paul Ansell, her partner, stated on Friday that he is “100% convinced” she did not fall into the river and that “something happened” the day she went missing.

The mystery, which has made headlines around the world, continues to captivate amateur detectives, especially those attempting to promote their social media channels.

TikTok has removed two accounts associated with Dan Duffy, an “urban explorer” who shared videos of his searches at the scene and outside of properties.

“Something occurred”

The partner of Nicola Bulley is “100%” convinced she did not fall into the river and believes “something happened” on the day she disappeared.

Friday, Paul Ansell told Dan Walker of Channel 5 that “there must be a way to find out what happened.”

“I am 100 percent convinced that it is not the river,” Mr. Ansell stated.

“Since people do not simply vanish into thin air, it is impossible. Thus, something has occurred.

“Something has taken place. Determine what it is. Determine what it is. There must be a way to discover what occurred, there must.

“It is impossible to walk your dog down a river and simply vanish into thin air.”

Mr. Ansell stated that Ms. Bulley’s two daughters, ages nine and six, continue to inquire about the whereabouts of their mother.

Mr. Ansell stated, “The only thing I can do is inform them that everyone is searching for mommy.”

“The best people in the world are searching for your mother to give them hope that everything possible is being done to locate her.”

Mr. Ansell states that he finds it difficult to believe what has occurred.

ALSO READ: Nicola Bulley’s Partner Refuses to Give Up Hope in Search for Missing Loved One

“I truly believe I will awaken at any moment… How did we even get here? We are decent people.

On Wednesday night, after being confronted by a man believed to be a resident, Mr. Duffy shared a screenshot falsely identifying him as “suspect number one.”

I have also discovered viral TikTok videos that falsely claim Ms. Bulley was found in a loft in Swansea, as well as a ‘psychic’ sketch of a possible suspect.

A man who commented on Ms. Bulley’s Facebook page has been singled out and falsely linked to the case in TikTok videos that have been viewed thousands of times in the past 24 hours.

A representative for TikTok stated that the company does not tolerate “bullying or harassment” and will continue to remove content that violates its terms of service.

The company added that it has a “dedicated” response team whose responsibility is to collaborate with law enforcement authorities on an individual basis.

Facebook has also proven to be a fertile environment for the propagation of conspiracy theories, with a post falsely claiming that police have made an arrest being widely shared on the platform.

More than 200,000 people have viewed a video on YouTube in which a group of American commentators discusses who they believe should be a “primary suspect.”

ALSO READ: Nicola Bulley’s Friend Speculates on Two Possible Reasons for Disappearance

Both Facebook owner Meta and YouTube owner Google were contacted for comment.

Alex Davies-Jones, Labour’s shadow minister for technology, gambling, and the digital economy, said”Social media platforms have enormous power to spread and promote misinformation and conspiracy theories, with ludicrous claims going viral and being viewed by millions of people in a way that would be impossible in the offline world.”

As demonstrated by the case of Nicola Bulley, these can cause severe harm.

“The Online Safety Bill was supposed to address this, but it has been severely delayed, and at the last minute, the government gutted and watered it down, so that it will no longer do anything to combat online misinformation.

“The Prime Minister is too weak and out of touch to even pass a bill with bipartisan support that has been six years in the making. We must immediately address the influence of social media platforms and the damage they cause to our society, economy, and public health. “Should the Bill not be strengthened, the next Labour government will act to ensure the safety of the online world.”

Senior Conservative MP John Penrose, who has proposed two amendments to the Bill to combat the spread of misinformation online, stated, “There is much to commend about the Online Safety Bill, but when it comes to combating misinformation and disinformation online, I do not believe it goes far enough. There are several very positive aspects of the legislation, but I am concerned that it contains several significant loopholes, and this is one of them.”

Barrister Chris Daw KC believes the Government’s legislative efforts to combat online misinformation will fail.

The truth is that the government cannot control social media companies, he said.

ALSO READ: 14 Days of Search: A Timeline of Nicola Bulley’s Disappearance

“If someone interferes with a police investigation, they may be committing a criminal offense known as perverting the course of justice.

“I believe that senior police chiefs should investigate the possibility of making an example of some of these individuals. I believe it should probably occur in some of these high-profile cases.”

Due to reports of antisocial behavior at the site of Ms. Bulley’s disappearance, Lancashire Police was compelled to issue dispersal orders on Wednesday night.

Giles Phillips, the chairman of the parish council, stated that there have been multiple reports of residents being harassed and mistreated.

Mr. Phillips added that the village, which has a population of approximately 700, “doesn’t have the resources for the number of people who are dumping.”

Emma White, a friend of Ms. Bulley, stated on the BBC’s Today program on Friday that amateur detectives were “not helping the situation.”

ALSO READ: Red Van Suspected in Nicola Bulley Disappearance: Key Witness Reports Suspicious Vehicle

She stated, “Yes, ultimately we all want to bring Nikki home, but we must do so in a logical, systematic manner, and we must defer to the police.”

We advise against speculating, concocting conspiracy theories, and taking the law into one’s own hands.

The Lancashire Police have issued a stern warning to anyone who takes the law into their own hands and causes distress to family members or witnesses.

With assistance from other agencies and a specialized sonar team, the force has been searching the River Wyre for two weeks, but Ms. Bulley has not been located.

Government officials have been contacted for comment.