It has been revealed that a right-wing group is responsible for a sick hoax, claiming that a six-year-old girl has been kidnapped by an Asian grooming gang.
As The Independent reports, a right-wing group called BALE (Britons Against Left-wing Extremism) have admitted responsibility for spreading the bogus poster, which claims that a blonde girl called Amy Hamilton has been abducted.
IT IS BELIEVED AMY HAS BEEN KIDNAPPED BY AN ASIAN GROOMING GANG. She's 6 years old and was last seen in the croydon area of london wearing a pink top and blue jeans. Please SHARE this so we can find her. 1 share makes a difference.
It goes without saying that you *shouldn't* share the missing person poster as it is untrue. Furthermore, if you have any friends or family who spread it - please be sure to correct them.
Tommy Britton, a spokesman for BALE. claimed on the internet that the hoax poster was only distributed to "bring awareness" of the "real world issue of Asian grooming gangs":
The poster which was distributed by our Facebook page last year was only a ploy to bring awareness to the real world issue of Asian grooming gangs in the united kingdom.
The truth of course, there is no such missing girl called ‘Amy Hamilton’, the picture distributed along with the poster is in fact a very realistic looking painting.
As a result of this poster reappearing, we have decided to delete it from our Facebook page and put out this statement to that effect.
We would also like to clarify that we are not a “race hate group” as branded by the press, we are simply an anti-left wing news publication.
Regardless of the rights or wrongs of what BALE did (in my opinion, it was clearly wrong), thousands of social media users have shared the poster, believing that it might help find a missing child.
You should always think carefully before sharing content on sites like Facebook, as you could be perpetuating a hoax, or helping a chainletter or scam to spread wide and far.
In this case, however, you could easily have been helping to tar the Asian community, portraying them in an unfair and racist fashion as being the groomers of young girls...
If anyone is guilty of anti-social behaviour, it's whoever at BALE thought this was a good idea in the first place.
If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated about the latest hoaxes, scams and security risks, and receive tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.