Not even a day after authorities said a University of North Florida student threatened a mass shooting on social media, another threat was made on the same app. This time, it was at the University of Florida.
The post warned students that a violent act was going to be committed Thursday morning in the middle of the busy campus.
“Most people just chose to avoid the Turlington area on Thursday morning, and there was a heavy police presence, and everyone was kind of on the edge of their seat about that,” said Abby Thompson, a sophomore at UF.
Thompson said she received a message on Wednesday night that said: “Someone on Yik Yak was being really cryptic and scary about doing something violent at 9:30 AM in the Turlington area, Please stay away and stay safe.”
She said the original post was made on the popular social media app Yik Yak, where users can post anonymously. But, Thompson said, by the time she checked the app, the post was taken down.
“Just the like general concern that I didn’t have before. Just added stress and worried for your friends, too,” Thompson said.
UF released this statement to News4JAX, saying: “The University was made aware and UF’s Police Department took immediate action and increased patrols on campus. It actively investigated the posts and identified the person who made the posts. The individual identified has been connected with the appropriate resources.”
Threats made on social media are nothing new. In fact, there’s a News4JAX article from 2014 warning parents about Yik Yak. But the message from law enforcement remains the same.
“Parents have to always be aware of what their children are doing,” said News4JAX crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson.
While this latest threat was made on a college campus, Jefferson warns all parents to have conversations with their children about potential threats made online.
“If you see a warning or a threat you should take it very seriously because the last thing you want to do it shrug it off and something happens and you could have acted on it,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson also offered a message, saying, for anyone who thinks they’ll get away with making a threat because an app allows them to be anonymous, law enforcement can still track people down.
“With modern technology, all of the criminals are not smarter than intelligence-led policing,” Jefferson said. “Anonymous is an oxymoron when it comes to technology.”
While Thompson is thankful nothing occurred on campus on Thursday, she said she has already deleted the Yik Yak app off her phone because she was so shaken up.
News4JAX has reached out to Yik Yak for comment but has not heard back.