In the aftermath of the UCLA shooting, false reports started circulating on social media that the gunman had been identified as a man named Sam Hyde.
In those chaotic first hours, these tweets were retweeted hundreds of times. They claimed Hyde was a Donald Trump supporter and a "noted white supremacist."
The same thing happened in the aftermath of the San Bernardino shooting in December of last year.
Sam Hyde is a comedian with a history of pranks and hoaxes, but it's unclear how this trend of identifying him as a mass shooter started.
Regardless of how Hyde became an avatar of online trolling campaigns, it has been taken up with great enthusiasm in some of the shadier corners of the web. The neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer even included him in a convoluted plan to inundate Breitbart comment sections with anti-Semitic spam.
Hyde and Million Dollar Extreme seem to be playing along, to some extent. During the shooting at Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon last year, a doctored screenshot of a VICE News tweet purported to name "white supremacist Sam Hyde" as the shooter. It was retweeted hundreds of times, including by the Million Dollar Extreme account.
Just remember: Never trust any breaking news that names Sam Hyde as a suspect. It's almost certainly a hoax.
This article has been updated with comment from Sam Hyde.
Ishmael N. Daro is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto. PGP fingerprint: 5A1D 9099 3497 DA4B
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