Penn State Student Charged for Fake Social Media Threats


Jong Seong Shim, a 20-year-old Pennsylvania State University student, was arrested and charged for social media threats Saturday.

Shim threatened on Yik Yak, an anonymous student-focused social-media app, to carry assault rifles to the student union on the university's main campus and "kill everyone". The off-campus student, however, later admitted that the message was just a "prank".

University police Chief Tyrone Parham said that the department considers all threats seriously. "Alarming an entire community is not considered a joke," Parham said. "It's considered a terroristic threat in this case and this individual will be held accountable," NJ reports.

According to court records, Shim of Tinton Falls, N.J., has been charged with two misdemeanour counts of making terroristic threats and one count of disorderly conduct. Police said that they didn't find any weapons at the student's off-campus residence.

Shim is a sophomore at Penn State's main campus in State College, Pa., where he is studying engineering. Penn State's HUB-Robeson Center was created to facilitate a campus social life that includes eateries and other places.

Yik Yak, a virtual bulletin board, permits users to post anonymous comments that can only be seen by fellow users within a 1.5-mile radius. The site has been at the center of anonymous shooting threats against Ridgewood High School and William Paterson University this year.

Ridgewood High School contacted police after someone posted a gun threat on Yik Yak in May 2014.

In the aftermath of the threats of violence at the New Jersey High school, several school administrators in the Tri-State Area decided to ban the popular app. Defending their decision, school officials said that some posts on Yik Yak are mixed with vulgarity and hate that is triggering problems at schools.

"Yik Yak is a good example of how technology apps, while often developed for positive purposes, can also be used to hurt others and cause disruption," superintendent of the school said.

"The app sort of brings out the worst in what we fear with the environment that our children sometimes get themselves into," said parent Allistair Linton, cbs local reports. Linton has two sons who go to Ridgewood High School.

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