As word spread that the person responsible for the mass shooting at a church in South Texas had been identified on Sunday night, right wingers on social media and Alt-Right publications quickly began manipulating images and creating fake profiles in order to fit the attack into their worldview.
They did this namely by repeatedly painting the shooter, 26-year old Devin Kelley, as linked with Antifa, Democrats, Muslims and anything they don’t like before facts were released. It’s still not entirely clear who Kelley was or what his motives were in killing at least 26 parishioners at the First Baptist Church in Southerland Springs, TX — and his actions should be condemned as evil and inexcusable regardless — but the right-wing fake news machine kicked into high gear moments after the news broke.
This deluge of fake news came as people were scouring social media for updates on a developing story. And as Buzzfeed noted, many of the hoaxes the trolls peddled were the same ones in circulation following the Las Vegas shooting in October.
For instance, right-wing trolls stitched an image of an Antifa flag into a collage of images believed to be from Kelley’s now-deleted Facebook page.
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