Police on Friday warned internet users to avoid using a website that allows anyone to create fake stories and share them on their social media accounts as the page administrator can record their access codes.
A man aged 35, was later arrested in Paphos.
In an announcement, police said that following many reports concerning fake news on social media, it has launched investigation against channel28news.com, through which internet users can create fake stories and share them on their social media accounts.
The complaints are believed to concern among others of what appeared to be a news report on Facebook on Thursday night of the murder of a 35-year-old man in Peyia in Paphos. The report said that the man had been just found dead in his car and that gun shots had been heard. The full name and photo of the man in question was included in the report, which said that police had cordoned off the area and had already arrested two suspects.
After reading the announcement of the man’s murder many felt compelled to call the Paphos police inquiring about the incident, including the Nicosia police headquarters, according to media reports. Following investigations to locate the source of the report, it emerged that it came from the website in question.
According to Sigmalive another fake story circulated on Facebook also on Thursday, believed to have been created by the same person who had spread the murder story, had said that fire had erupted in a high school in Yeroskipou. Another fake report on Friday said that a former Paphos police officer was wanted by Interpol.
Police warned that publishing fake news could, under some conditions, constitute a criminal offence.
It also warned would-be pranksters that by posting their fake story through that website on their social media accounts, they allow the page administrator record their social media access codes.
Police called on the members of the public to be vigilant and not believe anything coming from channel28news.com.
“The office for combating electronic crime is monitoring the issue and has already launched efforts to bar the website,” the announcement said.