How a Facebook post can spread misinformation about a lice outbreak

The power of social media can be amazing, but it can also be a curse. For example, a rumor spread throughout Facebook alleging a lice outbreak at a popular Waterpark in Corpus Christi, Texas. It wasn’t true.

“I clicked on the post and I read it and it didn’t seem quite right. It didn’t seem factual to begin with,” Gretchen Stinson said.

It read, “ATTENTION CORPUS: I’ve had over 50 kids come into my clinic who got lice from swimming at Hurricane Alley. Please do head checks or we can for you.”

However, there is no proof of this and it even prompted a response from the waterpark management team.

“Uh shocked because of our reputation here is amazing. We’ve always done the right thing and we’re considered a world class organization from all of our scores we’ve received throughout the nation,” said Sam Canavati, chief operating officer at Hurricane Alley.

Stinson challenged the author of the post, Miranda Davis. Stinson said Davis posted to her personal Facebook page and her company page, Lice Angels.

“I said if you’re profiting from this I think it’s a problem and I think it’s libel, this is what the CDC says,” Stinson said.

Stinson said her and Davis went back and forth about what was factually correct. She said Davis then deleted her comments and blocked her from the page.

Stinson did her own research from Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC states it is unlikely lice can be spread in the pool. They cling to hair, clothing and items like towels and brushes.

“All saying that lice cannot survive underwater for more than a few hours,” she said.

After being confronted Davis removed the Facebook post. Another post was put up giving people tips on dealing with lice and offering free head checks to people.

She declined an interview, but did say her post was blown out of proportion. She didn’t mean to target any place in particular and was only relaying what customers have told her about all public pools.

Nonetheless, it’s unlikely to spread lice in pools or at the beach for that matter.

This has struck people as an example of not believing everything on social media.

“When it comes to Facebook, make sure you treat each other with respect and be kind to one another. And, don’t jump on everything you hear because not everything’s true on Facebook,” Canavati said.

“Obviously anyone can post, hey 50 kids got lice at Hurricane Alley. But that doesn’t make it accurate. And, I think libel has a really strong ramification in today’s world.”

Stinson encourages people to do their own research when they’re curious about any social media post.