Twitter has long helped famous people use their powers of celebrity for good and awesomeness. (For example: please refer to various viral charitable endeavours and, uh, probably some very popular pictures of puppies and kittens and Justin Bieber's newest pair of sneakers or something.)
But using Twitter for evil? (Or, rather, for shenanigans that put the general public in peril?)
That's the situation facing rapper The Game. The Compton-raised hip-hop star, born Jayceon Taylor, has found himself in a situation involving his home-town sheriff’s station -- one of the busiest in Los Angeles County. And according to the L.A. Times, the rapper could face criminal charges because of a Twitter prank that instructed fans to call up the Compton Sheriff Department.
Friday afternoon, a message on The Game's Twitter feed announced an internship opportunity (presumably with the rapper), providing a phone number -- which proved to be the same as the aforementioned Cop Shop's.
As per the Times, a glut of The Game's 585,000+ followers took the post seriously, and the department’s phone lines were quickly flooded.
"It was almost like symphony of misery," Capt. Mike Parker told theTimes.
Parker was the first officer to make a link between the sudden rush of calls and The Game's Twitter feed -- and messaged the rapper, asking him to take down the post immediately.
According to the Times, The Game removed the post hours later, near midnight -- and flippantly responded to the incident, Tweeting the L.A. Times "it wasn't me (shaggy voice)" and blaming the prank on another user, @wackstar.
Wrote The Game (presuming his account wasn't hacked further): "@wackstar hacked my Twitter earlier......Arrest him police...He is to blame. #TellinOnYouDemetrius."
One police source at the Compton Sheriff's Department told the Timesthat the volume of calls they received following The Game's Tweet could only be compared to incidents involving natural disasters or events of extreme violence. The paper reports that during the three-hour blitz, officers also took calls involving a missing person, spousal abuse, robberies and a stolen vehicle.
"Public safety was absolutely compromised," Parker told Associated Press. "We were delayed in responding to calls."