KELOWNA – Many people, including some Global Okanagan viewers, consume their news through social media sites like Facebook.
In a 2009 Global Okanagan story, a patient with Multiple Sclerosis and full-body paralysis complained that staff at a central Okanagan care home weren’t allowing him to smoke his medical marijuana, which he was licenced to use.
That story was broadcast in September 2009, but it took on a whole new life when it was shared on Facebook this week.
The post on the “Pro-Cannabis Society” page read “no patient should ever be treated like this”.
Since it was uploaded five days ago, it was shared more than 4,000 times, had more than 150,000 views and received hundreds of comments by people all over North America.
Many people didn’t realize it was a 6-year-old story and instead, assumed it was recent.
Several phone calls, e-mails and messages on social media started flowing into the newsroom about the story.
One person even told Global Okanagan a protest was being planned at the care home, later apologizing when Global Okanagan notified them it was an old story.
UBC Okanagan assistant professor of marketing, Eric Li, says he’s not surprised to see the re-birth of the old story with many people overlooking important details before sharing and commenting.
“The time or originality of stories on social media has become kind of confusing in the social media world so to me, it’s not surprising to see that happen,” says Li.
Li says the public will need to become more aware of the potential repercussions of posting on social media.
“Ten years ago when they first introduced social media, they thought it was private but it’s actually semi-public because if I post an image, you can copy and share it without permission,” says Li.
Interior Health declined an on camera interview but in an e-mail statement, the authority says in the past few days it has received calls, e-mails and some messages on social media about the 2009 story.
“In the seven years since the story aired, federal legislation governing access to medical cannabis has changed and so have Interior Health policies,” reads the statement from Interior Health.
“As such, since 2012, we have had a policy in place to accommodate clients who have Health Canada authorization to possess and administer cannabis for medical purposes.”
Meanwhile, the 2009 video, which was in breach of copyright laws, has been taken down after Global Okanagan’s request for it to be removed.
As for how that patient is doing today or whether he is still at the same care home, Interior Health wouldn’t provide that information, citing privacy concerns.