The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) says it will respond to all potentially threatening social media posts, including by contacting the original poster, amid reports of coronavirus-skeptic individuals issuing calls via the major platforms to disrupt the work of hospitals and businesses.
Speaking to ETV current affairs show "Ringvaade" Friday, PPA northern district prefect Joosep Kaasik said that his authority: "Reacts to all threatening posts immediately. If a threat can be read into a post, then our task is to take preventative action on that threat as soon as possible, meaning we always contact the person behind the post."
Kaasik made his remarks in the light of social media posts which have reportedly appeared in recent days calling for individuals to enter hospitals in order to film, or to disrupt the work of store staff and wait staff at catering venues.
Kaasik noted the importance of thinking a post through rather than making one in the heat of the moment, which, even if deleted, can still lead to repercussions. "I would encourage the public to think very carefully about what posts they put up in the course of their current, running emotions. We never know what the consequences of posts may be, where they may end up."
"If you delete them, they don't really disappear, they simply stay in circulation somewhere on the resources of the internet, and if one day it turns out you have gotten over your [earlier] emotions or have changed your opinions, it can be extremely embarrassing for you if this post is still out there somewhere," he went on.
Kaasik called the calls to enter hospitals and film medical staff in the course of their work – based on skepticism over reports of the healthcare system facing meltdown as coronavirus patient numbers continue to rise, 20 months after the first coronavirus case was reported in Estonia – particularly regrettable and irresponsible.
"I believe that those who know people close to them working in the hospital today know how difficult it is for those who are trying to save lives there. And any such posts can endanger lives. In any case, I deplore such activities, which contribute in no way to resolving this crisis," Kaasik went on, noting that the PPA is already talking to poster who encouraged such actions.
Posting inside a closed group is not a "safe space" either; Kaasik said that not everyone in the same closed group, even if they share general opinions and interests, thinks the same way 100 percent of the time, meaning that sometimes the PPA gets informed about such posts also.
Editor: Andrew Whyte