Provo City launched a new fact-based website, ProvoRumorStop.com, on July 16 to dispel rumors by providing residents a credible online source.
The website launch comes in response to misinformation that has been circulated in the community following the shooting at the June 29 protest in downtown Provo.
“We learned very quickly that rumors are damaging and do nothing but build wedges,” said Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi.
The website encourages residents to help “set the record straight” by providing a place to verify facts, submit rumors and download shareable graphics.
“It will put out the facts and be available to the citizens so they can find the truth and not have to get caught up in the rumor mill,” Mayor Kaufusi said.
In a Facebook Live event on July 16, Mayor Kaufusi and Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson announced the website launch and discussed the events of the June 29 protest and the rumors and misinformation that followed.
Chief Ferguson said there was a false rumor that Mayor Kaufusi issued a stand-down order to the police during the protest, which he found to be “an unnecessary distraction during the investigation.”
“The very biggest thing that I’ve been hearing in the last few days is that the mayor told us to stand down on the Monday protest. That’s absolutely false. Flat-out lie. It did not happen,” he said.
“Police-community relationships are too important to Provo’s public safety and quality of life to allow false rumors and misinformation to undermine community goodwill and trust built up over decades,” Mayor Kaufusi said.
An email sent from Mayor Kaufusi’s office on July 16 said ProvoRumorStop.com can help “elevate the tone and truth” within community conversation.
“Our hope is by having 24/7 accessibility to facts, with a community motivated to help us combat damaging rumors, we can quickly squash false rumors and provide the facts necessary for a civil, solution-based conversation,” it reads.