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Bonneville Joint School District responds to fake tweet about Saturday classes

The Bonneville Joint School District 93 is reminding students and parents that there is no school Saturday, despite a tweet to the contrary being sent from a fake account.

The fake Twitter account with handle ‘BJZD93’ tweeted out that “school will be in session tomorrow to make-up for the missed snow days this week.”

“When you call two snow days in a row, it gives kids too much time,” superintendent Dr. Charles J. Shackett said.

The fake Twitter account was created around 2 p.m. Friday. It is unclear who created the account, which has since been deleted.

“My first thought was that it was the Russians trying to disrupt our school process here,” Shackett joked.

The tweet was retweeted nine times; however, AJ Rupp, a social media expert with Manwaring Web Solutions, in Idaho Falls says those nine shares are more widespread than many might think.

“I can say that there is a minimum of almost 3,600 who this tweet reached,” Rupp said.

That extended reach was the concern for Shackett who feared if students saw it, they may end up standing at the bus stop waiting for a bus that would never arrive. Temperatures Saturday morning are expected to be below-freezing and Shackett feared students could be seriously hurt.

Rupp, while reiterating Dr. Shackett’s concern, says this fake account and the tweet are a reminder of a bigger problem — fake news and information being shared and believed online.

“Think before you retweet or share,” Rupp said. “Something might look real and it is designed to look real to try and trick you. Take 30 seconds. Take 60 seconds before you go out there and share it.”

Shackett says in his 16 years with the district, he has never had anything like this happen. Shackett said whoever is behind the tweet could get in trouble, but he joked about it, saying maybe the district will make the responsible person the “district hacker.”

Rupp said a sure sign of a fake account is its age. He suggests checking to see when it was created and to look at how many tweets have been sent from the account and the number of followers it has. Rupp says the lower the number, the higher likelihood it is fake.

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