Debunking 3 Viral Rumors About the Texas Shooting

Rumors about the gunman and what happened spread widely online – often with little or no evidence – almost immediately after the first official reports of a deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

Here are the three most popular rumors spread on online platforms like Twitter, Gab, 4chan and Reddit.

Hours after Tuesday’s attack, far-right individuals spread false information and claimed the shooting was a “false flag” attack. His baseless claims were that the shooting was carried out to push local law enforcement away from the border, allow criminals and drugs to enter the United States, and that gun-control advocates planned the tragedy to provoke public outrage.

Other social media posts allege that parents waiting for their children’s news in news clips were found to be inadequately emotional and that they were crisis actors who were paid to play the role. The two teachers killed were also accused of being emergency actors.

Emergency artists’ claims and false flag claims in school shootings are not new: Infowars conspiracy theorist and broadcaster Alex Jones has lied for years that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newton, Conn., Was carried out by the federal government. Survivors and people pretending to be the victim’s parents. Last year, Mr. Jones lost four defamation lawsuits filed by the victims’ families, many of which were harassed by his confidants.

Hours after the attack, Fringe circulated a post on the online message board 4chan claiming that the gunman was a transgender. Numerous misrepresentations were attached claiming to show the woman wearing a gun.

Authorities say the gunman was a man.

Unfounded claims led to the telegram channels of far-right militia groups such as Proud Boys, where people falsely claimed that the shooting was the result of hormone therapy carried out by a gunman.

As of Wednesday, claims that the gunman was a transgender were amplified by high-profile people, such as Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosser, who was condemned by the House last year when he posted a video showing him assassinating a Democratic legislator. Mr. Gossar’s Twitter post has been deleted in this regard.

Photos of dark-haired transgender women were circulating with images of the gunman’s face, with false accusations that they were the same person. Stacey Washington, host of the SiriusXM show “Stacey on the Right”, said, “There are a lot of people posting pictures of this guy who was a shooter and gave information about being a transgender.” Tuesday night. She added: “We don’t have definitive evidence, but I would say, so many pictures? Oh god Something is happening here. “

On Tuesday, a transgender artist said on Reddit that people online “just took my photos and used them to spread false information.” After the artist posted other photos as evidence, an account on Twitter that discusses gun rights deleted a post that included a photo of the artist and apologized.

The 22-year-old transgender student in New York also reported that her photos were incorrectly linked to the gunman. She posted photos of herself on Twitter to prove her identity and told people to stop saying her photos were of a gunman.

“I’m so close to crying,” she posted at one point.

The Trans Safety Network, a research group that monitors threats to the transgender community, said in a statement on Wednesday that it had identified photos of three transgender people who had been falsely linked to the gunman and confirmed that all three were alive.

Mr. Gossar and Ms. Washington did not respond to requests for comment.

False claims that the gunman was born outside the United States began circulating within hours of the shooting. Authorities, including Texas state Senator Roland Guterres, have confirmed that the gunman was born in North Dakota, claiming he was an undocumented immigrant to the United States, widely circulating on white nationalist telegram channels and gab accounts.

Two telegram groups with ties to white supremacists claimed on Wednesday that the gunman had “entered the country illegally” from the Mexican border. The groups, each with thousands of followers, falsely claimed that the gunman was undocumented in the United States.

“Did he cross the border illegally?” The code of vets, a veteran organization, has been posted on Twitter. “Our nation is developing a serious national security crisis.”

Later, the group added a post noting that “the shooter has been confirmed to be a citizen” while saying: “Mental health must be taken into consideration. Our borders must be secure.”

Mr. Gosser also said the gunman was in the country illegally.

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