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‘Think Before You Post’ – FBI warns of the dangers and consequences of posting hoax threats online

SALT LAKE CITY — The FBI has released a new Public Service Announcement called "Think Before You Post" aimed at getting teens to avoid posting messages on social media that could be seen as threatening.

The Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Salt Lake Field office of the FBI, Dan Brady, says agents now know that after a crisis like the shootings in Santa Fe, Texas and Parkland, Florida, they will get a barrage of social media threats they have to investigate.

"It's not funny, it's not a prank. It's a crime. The ramifications are it could be up to five years of a federal sentence," said Brady.

According to a news release from the FBI, making false threats drains law enforcement resources and costs taxpayers a significant of money.

"When an investigation concludes there was a false or hoax threat made to a school, or another public place, a federal charge could be considered, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison. If a federal charge is not warranted, state charges can be considered," the news release said.

The FBI asks anyone who sees potential threats or suspicious activity to continue contacting law enforcement.

"If there is any reason to believe the safety of others is at risk, we ask that the public immediately reach out to their local police department by calling 911, or contact the FBI via tips.fbi.gov or over the phone (1-800-CALL-FBI)," the news release said.