Fake snake post on Facebook prompts fear in Georgia town

ATLANTA (AP) - A fake Facebook post is spreading fears that venomous snakes are lurking in the sewers of a Georgia town, and the city attorney has expressed concerns to the social media network that it's creating confusion and panic.

Calhoun Mayor James Palmer says residents have asked him whether it's safe to walk the streets.

Facebook Inc. has been under scrutiny amid complaints about fake news, fake accounts and concerns about political groups using account holders' information to manipulate elections.

The snake alert is on a Facebook account using the City of Calhoun's name. It says a local officer killed a copperhead as it slithered from a sewer and warns of more snakes in the underground system.

The post - which includes pictures of an enormous snake - has been shared more than 150,000 times since it appeared Monday.

A few weeks ago, the site announced that an alligator had been spotted at a local boat ramp, and advised caution, the mayor said. The site followed up a few days later with a "Live Gator Cam."

FAKE POST BELOW:

"A lot of people see it and automatically think it's true," Palmer said.

But the snake story is "about as true as the alligator on the boat ramp," the mayor said.

The Facebook site on Wednesday included a note in one section saying that it's a "satire page" and not affiliated with the city.

A key concern for the city, though, is that the page has used city emblems and has appeared to be official, the mayor said. It's still titled "City Of Calhoun, Gordon County GA."

"I think people look at it and assume it has more credibility when it appears that way," Palmer said.

Facebook's press office didn't respond to multiple phone and email messages Wednesday.

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