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Here Is The Misinformation Being Spread About The Florida School Shooting

Most have focused on the identity of the shooter.

Originally posted on
Updated on

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.

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.

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.

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

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."

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

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.

Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.

Contact Jane Lytvynenko at jane.lytvynenko@buzzfeed.com.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.

Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com.

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