Sajina Jacobs – Staff Writer
With the election happening, there are an increasing number of people worrying for their safety. Messages containing threats of murder and rioting have been spreading across all media platforms.
Cities are preparing for protests, civil unrest, and other acts of violence regardless of the election’s outcome, according to NPR. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the city has been planning and preparing for potential election-related protests and civil unrest for months. Many businesses in Chicago have boarded up their windows in preparation for potential unrest, just months after many businesses were hit by looters during the Black Lives Matter protests earlier this year, according to BBC News.
“The preparations reflected a broader national anxiety surrounding the contest between Mr. Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., and the growing fears that no matter who wins, the aftermath of the election could include violence,” the NY Times states.
In addition, social media posts recently went viral claiming that if Biden wins the election, supporters of President Trump had plans to mass murder people of color and the LGBTQIA+ Community. These messages were thought to have originated on Snapchat and TikTok as a way to discourage people from going out to vote, according to the Poynter Institute. The institution could not find material to support such claims to be true and believes it to be a rumor. Many of the posts found were messages urging people to stay inside and stay safe over the next few days. While these messages are well-intentioned, they could unintentionally be contributing to a campaign of terror against a marginalized group according to Sarah Oates, senior scholar in journalism at the University of Maryland.
“People should not just be suspicious of such posts; they should reject them as obviously false,” said Paul Barret, deputy director of New York University’s Center for Business and Human Rights.