ROCKVILLE, Md. — Verify exists to fact-check the suspicious things you read online.
College students woke up to an alarming tweet on Friday morning, saying the campus was on lockdown due to an active shooter.
Within seconds, people began asking whether the tweet, which came from the official community college Twitter account, was real.
In Feb. 2018, the college tweeted out a similar message alerting students that an "armed person" was on campus and to "stay away." In that incident, the college said, the alert was a false alarm due to "human error."
The tweet Friday morning, was posted on Twitter for 34 minutes before being removed, around 8:15 a.m.
Our Verify team immediately contacted Montgomery County police to figure out what happened.
A Montgomery County spokesperson confirmed that there is no active shooter at Montgomery College. At 7:50 a.m. police said they called the college, who said the Twitter account may have been hacked.
Our researchers contacted Marcus Rosano, Director of Media and Public Relations for the Montgomery College.
"[The tweet] was sent in error," Rosano said at 8 a.m. "I'm trying to get to the bottom of it and we'll have another message coming out soon."
During a second call with Rosano at 8:30 a.m., he confirmed that the tweet originated from one of their offices of public safety and that their Twitter account was not hacked.
Montgomery College did a safety training last week, Rosano explained. He said a couple of staff members did a follow-up training this morning and accidentally sent out a message that "wasn't in training mode."
The message was still written as a template with the words, "Insert Campus" in brackets.
"What that really tells us is we need to sit down and train harder," Rosano said. "This is a serious business and we have to come as close as we can to perfecting it."
So we can Verify, the tweet is false according to police and the school. There is no active shooter on any Montgomery College campuses.
The college tweeted at 8:11 a.m. that there is "no threat," and that they "apologize for the erroneous message."
This story is developing, we will update this story as more information becomes available.
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