Police have launched an investigation after a member of the public uploaded a photo of a York man on to Facebook and wrongly branded him a sex offender - attracting hundreds of abusive comments.
It followed an incident in a car park in Holgate Road on August 7 when officers received a report of man in some bushes using binoculars.
Officers attended the scene and established that it was a man with learning disabilities who was trainspotting.
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A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson today said: "The Facebook post has since attracted hundreds of abusive comments.
"While the member of the public was right to call the police about suspicious behaviour, uploading a photo of him and wrongly calling him a sex offender was extremely irresponsible.
"The incident has caused extreme distress to the man and his family, and officers have now launched an investigation into malicious communication.
"Our advice to members of the public is to pause before you post and think of the potential consequences of uploading spurious and malicious messages and the devastating effect it can have on its victims."