Here are the three most prominent rumors circulating on online platforms like Twitter, Gab, 4chan, and Reddit.
1. No, the shooting was not a staged ‘false flag’ operation.
Hours after Tuesday’s attack, far-right figures spread misinformation claiming the shooting was a “false flag” attack. His baseless allegations included that the shooting was orchestrated to divert local law enforcement across the border, allowing criminals and drugs to pass into the United States, and that gun control advocates organized the tragedy to fuel public anger.
Other social media posts claimed that parents shown in news clips waiting to hear from their children appear inadequately emotional and are crisis actors who are paid to play a role. The two teachers who were killed were also accused of being crisis actors.
Crisis actors’ claims and false flags School shooting is not new: Conspiracy theorist and publisher Alex Jones of Infowars has lied for years that the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, Conn. was staged by the federal government, with people pretending to be survivors and victims. ‘ parents. Last year, Mr. Jones lost four libel lawsuits filed by the victims’ families, many of whom were abused by his believers.
2. No, there is no evidence that the attacker was transgender.
Hours after the attack, a post went viral on 4chan’s nearest online message board claiming the gunman was transgender. Numerous photos have been attached, claiming to show the gunman wearing women’s clothing.
Authorities said the attacker was male.
False allegations appeared on Telegram channels of far-right militia groups like the Proud Boys, with people claiming that the accidental shooting was the result of hormone therapy administered by the gunman.
On Wednesday, allegations that the gunman was transgender were reinforced by high-profile figures such as Arizona Republican Representative Paul Gosar. censored last year by the House after he posted a video showing him killing a Democrat lawmaker. Mr. Gosar’s Twitter post on the subject has been deleted.
Photos of black-haired trans women circulated, along with images of the gunman’s face, along with false accusations that they were the same person. Stacy Washington, host of SiriusXM’s show “Stacy on the Right,” said, “There are a lot of people posting images of this shooter and information that they are transgender.” Tuesday night. “We don’t have conclusive proof, but I can say that there are so many photos. Oh my God. Something’s going on here.”
On Tuesday, a transgender artist said on Reddit that people online “take photos of me and use them to spread misinformation.” After the artist posted other photos as proof, a Twitter account discussing gun rights deleted a post containing the artist’s photo and apologized.
A 22-year-old transgender student living in New York also reported that her photos were incorrectly linked to the gunman. He posted photos of himself on Twitter to prove his identity, asking people to stop saying their photos were of the gunman.
“I’m so close to crying,” she wrote at one point.
Trans Safety Network, a research group that monitors threats to the transgender community, said: in a statement It reported Wednesday that it had identified photos of three transgender people wrongly linked to the gunman and confirmed that all three were alive.
Mr Gosar and Ms Washington did not respond to requests for comment.
3. No, the attacker was not an undocumented immigrant.
False claims that the attacker was born outside the United States began to circulate hours after the shooting. The allegations, which largely spread to white nationalist Telegram channels and Gab accounts, claimed he was an undocumented immigrant in the United States, even after officials including Texas state senator Roland Gutierrez confirmed that the gunman was born in North Dakota.
Two Telegram groups with ties to white supremacist figures claimed Wednesday that the gunman had “illegally entered” the country from the Mexican border. Groups, each with thousands of followers, continued to falsely claim that the gunman was undocumented in the United States.
“Did he cross the border illegally?” Code of Vets, a veterans organization, posted on Twitter. “Our nation is experiencing a serious national security crisis that is developing.”
Later, the group added the note, “The shooter has been verified as a citizen,” adding, “Mental health must be taken care of. “Our border must be secured,” he said.
Mr. Gosar also said that the gunman was found in the country illegally.