Every mass shooting (i.e. every other week or so), we hear a lot of bloodstained politicians decry Americans’ pleas to do literally anything about our cruel culture of gun worship as “politicizing” tragedy. It’s not only a shameful example of their complicity but an absurdly hypocritical defense.
Case in point: Yesterday, the Associated Press actually needed to issue a misinformation warning for claims making the rounds on conservative Twitter that ABC News augmented the Uvalde elementary school mass shooter’s photo in an effort to make him appear whiter with “completely different facial features,” the implication being that so-called liberal media didn’t want to concede that a brown person was responsible for the latest preventable atrocity. It’s almost as if the people behind the lie are trying to falsely “politicize” the situation...
AP also noted that at least one tweet pushing this hoax garnered at least 2,500 shares and 4,000 likes — while that particular tweet appears to have since been removed, the same claim can currently be found verbatim via multiple other (likely bot) accounts at the time of writing this.
Just one of many examples — Unfortunately, this falsified whitewashing claim is only the latest misinformation attack to gain traction on Twitter. Thousands of similar hoaxes, exaggerations, forgeries, and bad faith claims filter through the social media platform every day. At its very core, Twitter’s methods of boosting certain trending topics over others is fundamentally broken, rewarding only the most sensationalist content above any real consideration for truth. Although the company constantly attempts (and often succeeds) at addressing this issue, there is really no way to separate the site’s harmful effects from its basic functionality.
The rumor that ABC News lightened a Latinx school shooter’s skin tone is far from the first offensive falsity to make the rounds on Twitter, and unfortunately it won’t be the last.