A tweet that prompted considerable backlash Monday has Manitoba RCMP admitting they should have worded it differently.
On Sunday, Winnipeg police and RCMP sent out a number of tweets with the intent of helping people identify scammers pretending to be romantically attached to people, and to warn people about possible dangers.
“Love doesn’t always last forever, but pictures do! This Valentine’s keep your privates private. #loveadvice #rcmpmb,” RCMP wrote for one, along with a pixelated photo marked “censored.”
But people quickly pointed out the problem with the advice.
When contacted by Global News on Monday, RCMP said they were unaware of the backlash.
“The RCMP message wasn’t an effort to target those who have been victimized, but to be cognizant of the fact that, yes, it is not illegal to take pictures and send them to perhaps a loved one, but the concern becomes when those pictures are shared without consent,” said Const. Paul Manaigre.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t come across well in the tweets … It comes down to did we word it properly? It would appear not.”
RCMP removed the tweet Monday and Manaigre apologized for the wording.
Manitoba RCMP takes these kinds of complaints seriously, he added.
“[We have] an integrated sexual assault type of investigation unit that investigates these matters,” he said.
“With the onset of phones and computers, we have the technology in place to investigate these crimes and they will be prosecuted.”
Winnipeg PR strategist Susie Erjavec-Parker said it was “a bit jarring to see” the tweet.
“I can see what point they were trying to make, but it’s clear they missed the mark on this one,” she said.
“Victims of revenge porn are, obviously, not looking for that type of outcome, and it’s usually used as a means of, yes, revenge and it’s actually a means of violence against women and children.”
Despite the RCMP’s good intentions and the backlash, Erjavec-Parker said people calling out this kind of tweet is a positive sign.
“I think now people are looking at this type of crime as something that nobody asks for.”
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