22 Apr 2013 - Article No: 1708
Dell Schanze and Dog Fighting Rumour - Facebook Rumour
This is Dell Schanze. Please watch out for him in all rescue centers, he’s looking for dogs to use as bait for dog fighting. Please share and wide, we need to catch him.
This message is circulating the Internet and claims that the person identified in the message, Dell Schanze, is looking for dogs to recruit for dog fighting.
This appears to be the latest in a long line of dog fighting hoaxes to hit cyberspace in 2012-2013. Several other individuals have been outed in the last few months from the date of this article claiming that they were operating or supporting dog fighting rings. However these rumours turned out to be false and it appears that this latest version is just as false.
Dell Schanze is a real person, hailing from Salt Lake City in Utah, and has recently been the centre of controversy after he seemed to have chased and kicked an owl during a paragliding excursion. Dell, who previously operating now defunct computer company "Totally Awesome Computers", has been in trouble with the law before after jumping from a tower in Oregon in a paraglider, which led to his arrest. Dell, also known as SuperDell, also ran for Utah state governor, and has been known to create and run several controversial TV commercials.
However we have been unable to find any evidence or sources to support the claim that he has anything to do with dog fighting. Given the controversial nature of Schanze, it is entirely possible that this could be linked to some sort of negative campaign started by his critics. It seems even less likely to be true given the surplus of very similar rumours that have circulated recently.
Also the claim in the message that it should be spread because "we need to catch him" seems redundant since the police are aware of who he is and there are no reports suggesting that he is running or trying to evade capture from the authorities.
Given that the rumour fails to provide any evidence that it may be true, we recommend not circulating the message. People who involve themselves in circulating content that identifies and condemns individuals without evidence are simply engaging in “Trial by Social Media” which is essentially ill-advised online witch hunting. Click here to learn more about the dangers on online social media witchhunts.
Social media and the Internet is rife with rumour, misinformation, propaganda and untruth. It is like this because people can be irresponsible with what information they choose to share.
Our community works hard to try and debunk and assist in as many cases as possible, as well as teach people how to share responsibly. We believe it is important that anyone who uses the Internet be able to identify false rumours and fully understands the possible consequences of spreading false information.
If you interested in this, feel free to read our two-part blog. Part 1 deals with how to spot and debunk Internet rumours and Part 2 deals with the reasons why you should never circulate false information.
Additionally if you have fallen for this rumour or have Facebook friends that have, you can join our growing Facebook page here or sign up to our mailing list here.