TOMS RIVER – Municipal officials are suggesting that residents should not believe everything they read online and to be alert to misinformation about Toms River that may be posted on some social media platforms.
During a Township Council meeting on Nov. 13 at the municipal building, council Vice President George Wittman read a statement from the governing body.
In the statement, officials said, “In recent months, the Township Council has become aware of a growing number of print and online publications, Internet websites and social media platforms that publish information and commentary about issues affecting the township.
“Many of these outlets use ‘newspaper-sounding’ names, often with ‘Toms River’ as a prefix, or borrow the township’s well-recognized logo, conveying the false impression they are official sources for township information or part of the legitimate media.
“In fact, however, much of the information and commentary circulating on these sites is, at best, inaccurate and unsubstantiated and, at worst, biased and inflammatory. Although they have, under our country’s laws, the right to operate, we believe these outlets hinder rather than help a robust, constructive and civil public discourse on important matters affecting the township.
“…So that the general public is not misled by gossip and rumor, and knows where to obtain accurate and official information about township related matters, we caution that the following are the only township operated social media portals:
“… Regardless how official-looking or official-sounding, no other social media platforms are owned, operated, sponsored or affiliated with the township. The township neither provides content for, nor endorses the material promulgated on, these sites.
“Moreover, the township disavows the opinions and viewpoints expressed on these sites, which belong solely to the sites’ proprietors and individual users,” officials said in the statement.
Wittman said he is concerned some Internet sites are propping up false information. Officials did not name any of the sites to which they were referring.