A domestic terrorist shot and killed at least 58 people and injured 515 others during the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada Sunday night. The shooter, later identified by police as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, reportedly killed himself before authorities entered his room at the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
While the only nation where this regularly happens waits on our politicians to provide thoughts and prayers but no real solutions, some have taken up the tasteless task of intentionally spreading Vegas-related hoaxes purely for retweets.
On Twitter, a place whose founders are more concerned with giving us 280 fucking characters instead of shutting down shit like this, multiple far-right troll accounts have—once again—attempted to circulate images of comedian Sam Hyde:
Hyde, of course, is not the shooter and is in no way connected to the attack. As BuzzFeed's Ryan Broderick explained in his report Monday, Hyde is a frequent target of similar hoaxes in the wake of U.S. mass shootings, of which there are many.
Additionally, fabricated retweet requests alleging missing family members have also started popping up in the wake of the Vegas attack.
The operator of the @immyxrx account, who shared the first photo embedded above, told Mashable he intentionally spread misinformation (using a photo of porn star Johnny Sins) “for the retweets.” The account's profile picture was taken from YouTube product reviewer TheReportOfTheWeek, whose photos have been unwillingly used in previous post-shooting misinformation campaigns. The photo used by @cryinginside247, meanwhile, has been confirmed by the original poster to be a fabrication. The photo used in @pumaexiliado's tweet appears to have been taken from a report on a murder case in Mexico.
Additional hoaxes were reported but have since been removed, including one about Arsenal player Mesut Özil. At least one Twitter account has been temporarily restricted.
More false info about the shooting at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas.
This is Mesut Özil, a German soccer player. Not a missing person. pic.twitter.com/xY5mKccjRu
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) October 2, 2017
4chan trolls—who have created threads calling for the “control” of the narrative surrounding the Vegas shooting—have also started spreading additional claims, as Broderick reported early Monday.
Authorities are still investigating Sunday's shooting, which has already been declared the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
So who's to blame for the ease with which these hoaxes are able to spread? Twitter? Alex Jones cult members? Sheer idiocy? All of the above, really. And as we in America delve deeper and deeper into the post-truth era following the alleged election of someone who rarely goes 24 hours without spreading hate, lies, or both, we must remain vigilant.
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