A school in Japan was compelled to apologize for a student’s irresponsible Twitter prank.
After the country was rocked by an earthquake last week, @Reonandnene urged followers to retweet a message reading “Because of the earthquake, my house collapsed, and moreover, I cannot get out. I'm trapped under rubble. Please call for help.” It was retweeted around 14,000 times, before @Reonandnene admitted it was a prank.
“It's a lie lulz You're all so stupid,” @Reonandnene tweeted.
On Monday, a private school in Osaka claimed @Reonandnene was a student there and apologized for the user’s actions.
"Firstly to everyone in the area hit by the quake, and to everyone everywhere else, we'd like to offer our deepest apology," Tezukayama Gakuin Izumigaoka said, according to Kotaku. The school added it was taking steps to ensure no other student did the same, while it was taking a “strict” approach to the student in question.
Kotaku also noted that 2channel, the popular Japanese message board that inspired 4chan, apparently tracked down @Reonandnene’s school, gender, and photos, forcing Tezukayama Gakuin Izumigaoka to apologize to save face.
With Japan using Twitter for emergency communications, the tweeter who cried wolf could have legitimately moved emergency officials away from situations where they were genuinely needed.
Photo of Osaka Castle by nenzen/Flickr