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Twitter Hoax Leads to Campus-Wide Booze Dump

After a joke text about dorm sweeps goes viral, panicked UVA students dump out their liquor.

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Major booze-kill. Photo via

By Bryan Le

04/09/13

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If anything can attest to the power of social media, it's the capability of causing an entire campus of college students to pour out their booze. This is what happened yesterday afternoon when a joke text went viral, leading to a campus-wide mass alcohol dump at the University of Virginia, student paper Cavalier Daily reports. At noon on Monday, UVA student Meredith Markwood received a text from her friend, warning that Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control was conducting dorm sweeps. Taking the warning seriously, she sent a group text message to four other friends, saying afterwards: "[My friend] was pulling my chain because I’m very, very gullible. Clearly.” The first friend admitted it was a hoax just 38 minutes later, but by then the entire student body was already tweeting #UVAdormsearch and #operationcharlottesville. With rumors spreading that students were being hauled off to jail for alcohol possession, many frantically rushed to chuck their booze stashes in dumpsters. "The current BAC of the dumpster: 5.6," tweeted one student. But the incident apparently didn't leave every student high and dry; some crafty fraternity brothers posed as campus security and "went around 'confiscating' liquor from first-years," another student tweeted. Two and a half hours after the initial text, school officials made a statement that neither the school nor police were doing any searches. Markwood is shocked by the repercussions of her simple misunderstanding. “I don’t know that many people,” she says, “I thought ‘I can’t have gotten this to the whole first-year class. I am one person. I don’t even have 700 Facebook friends.’”

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