Movie leads to trouble online for local teens

(WXYZ) - After Emma Washko went to see the new movie “The Purge” she decided to go on Twitter to tweet about it.  As the 18-year-old from Southgate searched for people talking about the movie, she was surprised to find a tweet about her.  It was sent out by an account on Twitter called @downriverpurge. 

Emma says the post stated lies about her sexual history. It hurt to see.

“Then I decided none of it is true, so don’t let it bother me,” said Emma. 

Emma called out the anonymous poster on Twitter for sending out lies.  She saw that she was not the only local teen targeted.  There were numerous posts and pictures on Twitter that aimed to humiliate teens from metro Detroit school districts and around the country.  She worries that not all of those will be able to handle the bullying.

“It crosses my mind everyday.  I hope it doesn’t go too far,” said Emma.

The posts are part of a social media trend that started after the movie “The Purge" came out.  The movie takes a look at what would happen if there were 12-hours of lawlessness. The people behind many accounts set up in recent days on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram promote lawlessness on-line. They post lies, rumors, and nude pictures people have, often of their former girlfriends or boyfriends.

“It is a national epidemic,” said Det. Charles Younkin of the Warren Police Department.

Warren Police have several active cases involving social media sites set up to humiliate teens.  In one recent case unrelated to the purge teens found themselves charged with several felonies.

“It is child pornography,” said Younkin of the pictures sent out by many accounts targeting high school age kids.

While there is lawlessness in the movie, there is not lawlessness in the real world. Social media sites are taking down accounts taking part in the on-line "purge" as they become aware of them. Police around the country have announced criminal investigations tied to these sites.  Detectives say the people behind them are not hard to track down.

“Parents need to talk to their kids to raise awareness about the consequences of sending nude photos and posting them,” said Det. Younkin. “We have to stop this."

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