Several posts on Facebook appealing for help to find a child called Tyler Rollins have been shared in many local Facebook groups across different countries. But the posts are not genuine.
The posts say: “This is the most recent picture of my son Tyler Rollins at his first day of school, he left on Friday morning for school and he never came back. He was last seen wearing black converses with purple and red shoelaces as well as a blue zip-up hoodie, he has dirty blonde hair, blue eyes and he’s about 5’4-5’5 and 124lb. Please help me find him.”
Some of the posts feature hashtags of the names of local areas they are posted in groups for.
One clue that these posts are not genuine is that the accompanying picture shows a boy of a different name from Newport in Wales, who went missing in June of this year but was later found safe and well.
Additionally, this text with the accompanying picture has appeared in local Facebook groups for communities in Ireland, Canada and the US and been posted by multiple people, who could not possibly all be Tyler’s parents.
These posts in particular seem odd as they mention the boy went missing after his “first day at school”, despite it being mid-November—months after the start of the school year.
We’ve checked many posts like this before, which claim to be looking for missing parents, missing or found children and lost dogs. Sometimes the posts will be edited once they have been shared many times into adverts for surveys or housing websites.
A sign that these missing person Facebook posts may not be genuine is often that the comments have been disabled. This may be to stop people from commenting that the post is fake.
Derbyshire Police, for example in relation to posts about missing vulnerable people, have previously said: “if the posts have comments disabled, please DO NOT share. Anyone wanting to reunite an vulnerable person would not disable comments.”
Picture courtesy of Christin Hume