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Here Is The Misinformation Being Spread About The Florida School Shooting

Here Is The Misinformation Being Spread About The Florida School Shooting

Most have focused on the identity of the shooter.

Last updated on February 15, 2018, at 11:21 a.m. ET

Posted on February 14, 2018, at 6:27 p.m. ET

There were at least 17 fatalities following a school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Wednesday. As is often the case, it didn't take long for hoaxes to start circulating about the tragedy.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

1. A fake Bill O'Reilly account is spreading a hoax about the identity of the shooter. The man in the photo is comedian Sam Hyde, whose photo circulates after every shooting.

2. The account has been restricted by Twitter but continues to spread hoaxes that are getting traction.

3. Others uploaded videos and photos of the comedian falsely claiming he was the shooter.

4. Twitter users also falsely pointed the finger at German YouTuber DrachenLord, whose photos similarly circulated after the Berlin Christmas Market attack.

5. A fake "antifa" account is also spreading a hoax about the suspect wearing an antifa T-shirt. However, the person in the picture, which has gone viral, is a 24-year-old named Marcel Fontaine, not the suspect.

6. A fake BuzzFeed News post was shared by a white nationalist Twitter account, MAGA PILL, which has more than 60,000 followers. The real BuzzFeed News post by reporter Salvador Hernandez was about the Florida school shooting.

Twitter

The president has previously shared tweets from the MAGA PILL account, which frequently shares conspiracy theories.

Twitter

The fake article was also shared by Lucian Wintrich, the White House correspondent for the right-wing website Gateway Pundit. Both accounts later deleted their tweets, but the fake article had already started to spread.

Here is the obviously fake BuzzFeed screenshot in question shared by none other than Gateway Pundit’s Lucian Wintri… https://t.co/5pIioLfFEp

7. Some people started sharing fake posts saying that a family member was missing and a possible victim of the school shooting, while including an image of a real person who is in no way involved in the shooting. An account with the handle @TheGamingRapist shared an image of Bill Mitchell, who is the host of a pro-Trump conservative radio show in Florida, and claimed it was his grandpa.

Twitter

Microchip, which is a notorious pro-Trump Twitter account, tweeted a similar message about a missing grandfather along with an image of a real person: a YouTube user who posts under the handle TheReportOfTheWeek. The image is altered to make him look older.

Twitter

Other accounts shared different images of the same YouTube user TheReportOfTheWeek, while also claiming it was a missing relative.

After the Manchester attack in 2017, this image of TheReportOfTheWeek was circulated in a similar hoax. Speaking to BuzzFeed News after the 2017 attack, ReportOfTheWeek (real name John) said he received messages from friends and family to make sure he was safe. "It only increased when several major news networks picked up on the fake information and broadcast it as factual. It frustrated and saddened me to see that this fake news got so much attention that could have been directed to those who were actually missing, but I understand that when events are developing, the situation can be very confusing."
Twitter

After the Manchester attack in 2017, this image of TheReportOfTheWeek was circulated in a similar hoax.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News after the 2017 attack, ReportOfTheWeek (real name John) said he received messages from friends and family to make sure he was safe.

"It only increased when several major news networks picked up on the fake information and broadcast it as factual. It frustrated and saddened me to see that this fake news got so much attention that could have been directed to those who were actually missing, but I understand that when events are developing, the situation can be very confusing."

8. People are faking tweets from Miami Herald reporter Alex Harris, who has been covering the tragedy.

At least two hoax tweets falsely attributed to Harris are circulating on social media.

Harris told BuzzFeed News she's faced an onslaught on harassment after the doctored screenshots started spreading on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites. "It's clogged my mentions with abuse, which makes it hard to see if people responded to my original tweets requesting interviews," she said. "Also, some of these people started following me from tweet to tweet I sent to victims and sending them the fake tweet, so I think it might have scared some people off from talking to me."
Twitter

Harris told BuzzFeed News she's faced an onslaught on harassment after the doctored screenshots started spreading on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media sites.

"It's clogged my mentions with abuse, which makes it hard to see if people responded to my original tweets requesting interviews," she said. "Also, some of these people started following me from tweet to tweet I sent to victims and sending them the fake tweet, so I think it might have scared some people off from talking to me."

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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