Quit Clowning Around on Social Media

Courtesy of smithsonianmag.com

By Jennifer Cazares

October has finally arrived in our mist. It brings a cool breeze of past times such as pumpkin patches, festive drinks and haunted houses. One thing that no one suspected to emerge from our traumatizing nightmares and onto our reality were killer clowns invading our cities.

For those who do not know already, the craze began in Greenville, South Carolina. Police received an anonymous call about clowns hanging out in the woods on Sept 20. Other calls around the area have reported clowns luring children, spooky laughter, and glaring at windows.

Since then, creepy clowns have been spotted across the nation, such as Florida, Texas, and New York, threatening civilians and posting “hit lists” on social media.

Courtesy of mashable.com

Could it be a marketing tactic gone out of hand for the upcoming movie, It, that led us into this paranoia?

Although, it may seem perfect timing to get people talking about this assumption, Warner Brother’s spokesperson said that there is “absolutely no connection.”

Even the creator of the original story had something to say about this:

Courtesy of bbc.com

Actual clowns who do this for a living are greatly affected by this as they receive harassment and violent threats.

In response to this, Nikki Sinn, a part-time make up artist, organized a “Clown Lives Matter” peace walk in Arizona on October 15th to show people a positive perception of clowns.

“The point of the march is to show that clowns can be friendly, harmless and entertaining and “not psycho killers,” Sinn said in Time magazine.

This is not a joking matter for law enforcement either. Social media is now a tool for police to track down any threats that can potentially do harm to citizens, even if it is a hoax. Schools have been on lock down because of these threats and alerting students to use social media carefully.

A 14-year-old male student in the Mansfield school district was arrested for making a scary clown threat on social media. The district made a statement and said that even if it’s a prank, threatening lives and suggesting violence is no laughing matter. They encourage their community to continue reporting any miscellaneous acts and securing that no one takes a part of the problem.

So just a gentle reminder on how to use social media properly while this unfortunate fad is sweeping the country.

  1. Do not post threats or suggest any form of violence even if it’s just a harmless meme.
  2. Do not spread rumors or create a “cry wolf” scenario.
  3. Be responsible and think through your actions when you post.


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UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism