Copycat posts about ‘missing’ boy shared widely on Facebook

25 November 2022
What was claimed

A child named Tyler Rashid has gone missing in Guildford.

Our verdict

This post is almost identical to fake appeals we have recently checked, though the name has been very slightly changed. The boy pictured in the post has a different name and went missing in Newport, Wales in June, but was found safe and well.

Hundreds of people have shared a fake appeal on Facebook to find a missing child called Tyler Rashid in Guildford.

The post says: “This is the most recent picture of my son Tyler Rashid at his first day of school, he left yesterday 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.” 

The wording is almost identical to another post we checked earlier this week, with only the name of the child changing from Tyler Rollins to Tyler Rashid. 

The main indicator that this latest post isn’t genuine is that the picture used is actually a boy with a different name from Newport in Wales, who was the subject of an appeal when he went missing in June. He was later found safe and well

The appeal for help to find Tyler Rollins has been posted by different accounts in a number of different local Facebook groups, including in Ireland, Canada and the US. All of these users identify Tyler as their son, which couldn’t possibly be true. 

These types of posts are extremely common on Facebook, with other variations including appeals for missing parents, lost dogs and missing or found children. We’ve seen a number of instances where posts will be edited after reaching a lot of people, so they instead advertise surveys or housing websites. 

One way of identifying these fake appeals is checking to see whether or not the comments are disabled, which is often done to prevent social media users from commenting that the post isn’t genuine. 

Image courtesy of Richard Bell

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