From Dartmouth Health: A case of misidentification and rush to judgment on social media has led to false accusations of racism and threats of violence against an innocent New Hampshire doctor and his family. Andrew R. Spector, MD, a highly respected Dartmouth Health clinician, was falsely accused of being a man who used a racial slur against a woman of color in a video clip that has gone viral on TikTok. The false identification has caused significant harm to Spector’s personal and professional life, tarnishing his reputation and causing undue distress to him and his family.

“I am not, and have no relation to, the man in the video circulating online, nor does anyone in my family,” said Spector. “My family and I are receiving threatening messages as a result of me being falsely identified as the man in the video. While I can appreciate that people rallied to support the woman who was targeted with vile, deeply hateful words and actions, the repercussions of spreading false accusations have been devastating to deal with, both personally and professionally.”

Misinformation, especially when it spreads rapidly on social media, can have severe consequences. It not only can damage the lives of innocent individuals like Spector, but also undermines the trust we place in our online communities.

“False accusations can be extremely damaging to individuals and their families. They can have a painful and lasting impact,” said William C. Torrey, MD, Dartmouth Health’s chair of psychiatry. “The speed at which false information can be disseminated is alarming, and social media users need to think critically to avoid situations like these.”

Dartmouth Health calls upon social media platforms, such as TikTok, and users alike to exercise greater responsibility in curbing the spread of misinformation.

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