PSP launch campaign against “crimes invented over the Internet”

Portugal’s PSP police is about to launch a campaign via its Facebook page “against crimes invented” over the Internet.

The objective, a source has told Lusa news agency, is to “demystify urban myths” that generate needless “social alarm”.

As sub-commissioner João Moura explained, social media can work both ways. It can turn issues viral, whether they are correct or not. Thus, this campaign sets out to put the record straight.

“We want to transmit information and security to people,” said Moura.

Stories, for example, of Eastern European mafias that kidnap children outside schools, throw eggs at windscreens as a way of assaulting drivers, or attack cars at traffic lights, are just some of the ‘urban myths’ generated over the net that cause unnecessary panic among the populace.

Moura said the PSP has 400,000 followers on Facebook, many of whom make inquiries over information picked up on social media.

But as Jornal de Notícias adds, even when the police deny rumours, they continue to circulate “massively”. Thus the ethos behind the campaign, which is due to be launched in January.