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Allowing for disturbing online behaviour can be a good thing, says expert

A digital media expert says restricting people from posting disturbing comments and violent images on social media sites could do more harm than good.

Aimee Morrison of the University of Waterloo says keeping troubling behaviour in the open can be a valuable tool for staging effective interventions.

Her comments come days after police in Halifax — tipped off by an anonymous submission to Crime Stoppers — said they foiled a mass shooting that they allege was planned for Valentine’s Day.

A 19-year-old man believed to be associated with the plot was found dead in his Halifax-area home Friday.

A social networking website thought to be linked to the deceased man features pictures of weapons, Nazi symbols and images relating to the Columbine school shooting.

Instead of restricting content, Morrison says more resources should be put towards educating Internet users on picking up on danger signs.

Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath, 23, of Geneva, Ill., and Randall Steven Shepherd, 20, of Halifax, have been charged with conspiracy to commit murder and are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

The deceased 19-year-old was found by police on Feb. 13 at a home in Timberlea, N.S.

His identity has not been released by police because an independent agency that investigates serious incidents involving officers is looking into the circumstances of his death. The Serious Incident Response Team says it will not release the man’s identity.

Some published reports have identified him as Jamie Gamble, 19.

The Canadian Press has not been able to confirm the deceased man’s identity. A man at the house where the body was found declined to speak to The Canadian Press, but neighbours say Gamble did live at the home.