In the first hours after the Texas school shooting that left at least 10 dead Friday, online hoaxers moved quickly to spread a viral lie, creating fake Facebook accounts with the suspected shooter’s name and a doctored photo showing him wearing a “Hillary 2016” hat.
Several were swiftly flagged by users and deleted by the social network. But others rose rapidly in their place: Chris Sampson, a disinformation analyst for a counterterrorism think tank, said he could see new fakes as they were being created and filled out with false information, including images linking the suspect to the anti-fascist group Antifa.
It has become a familiar pattern in the all-too-common aftermath of U.S. school shootings: A barrage of online misinformation, seemingly designed to cloud the truth or win political points.
.. But some social media watchers said they were still surprised at the speed with which the Santa Fe shooting descended into information warfare. Sampson said he watched the clock after the suspect was first named by police to see how long it would take for a fake Facebook account to be created in the suspect’s name: less than 20 minutes... Some critics suggested the site should force new accounts into a waiting period before they are publicly available or that the company should more aggressively watch names in the news for potential fakes.
Defense of the First Amendment is something that conservatives have traditionally bragged about.
The president of the United States thinks “it’s frankly disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write,” and I think what’s “frankly disgusting” is how many conservatives are defending his comments.
As I stated in my column on Sunday — after President Trump said he wanted “equal time” given to his viewpoint on television programs — I do completely agree that the coverage of this president has been incomparably negative, and often unfairly so. There is a bias; there is a vendetta, and the mainstream media would never subject a liberal politician to this kind of scrutiny. I also, however, explained that none of this matters when it comes to the government’s role in the press.
.. Mr. President: The immense freedom that this country grants to its press is not “disgusting”; it’s beautiful. One of the best things about this country is that our leaders have absolutely no say in our criticism of them, because it’s that freedom that keeps us free.
.. I cannot believe I even have to write this, but “conservative” does not equal “agreeing with the president no matter what he says or does because he won as a Republican.” It’s about a certain set of values and principles, and one of those principles is an unwavering commitment to free speech as guaranteed under the United States Constitution, even and especially when that speech is something controversial.
.. Calling for government control of the media is not a conservative view; it’s a fascist one. You’re fine to think that the government should control the media; you’re fine to espouse it — thanks, of course, to the First Amendment that you’re apparently totally fine with jeopardizing — but please understand that this idea is not compatible with conservative, or even traditionally American, values.
.. They’ll say: “But the media lie! Shouldn’t they be punished for their lies?” Okay, a few things about that. First of all, although the mainstream media are biased, and although journalists have incorrectly reported some things surrounding this administration, President Trump has a penchant for flippantly calling any news he does not like (true or not!) “fake.”
.. Second of all, President Trump himself has lied, misreported, or misrepresented information countless times. Do you think he should be punished, too? Oh, and then there’s this question: Have any media outlets that you do like ever made mistakes or shown a bias? Do you really want to risk putting those outlets in jeopardy by allowing the government to create these kinds of policies, knowing full well that future administrations — potentially, administrations you may not align yourself with — will be able to use those tools as well? Think!
.. First of all, what Antifa did in Berkeley is an unacceptable threat to speech, but Antifa did not take an oath on inauguration day vowing to protect our freedoms, so I think that probably we can hold the person who did do so to a little higher standard than those loons.
.. it is totally possible to disagree with Antifa violence and the president’s comments. It’s called being f&*$%+@ ideologically consistent, and I literally cannot believe that that is some kind of radical concept to so many people whom I know know better.
.. Look in the mirror and say: “It’s 2012. President Obama just threatened to revoke the license of Fox News Channel, and I am totally okay with that,” and see how it feels.
.. What good does this kind of base, childish rhetoric do for any single one of us? We’re all better than this; we’re smarter than this, and we had better get it together before it’s too late.
False information on the 4chan website made it to the top of Google search results before being debunked.
Links to the 4chan website that falsely identified the shooter and called him a leftist and Democratic supporter were showing up on the top of Google search results, according to tweets by Buzzfeed News reporter, Ryan Broderick. Conservative writer Joe Hoft pounced, publishing and then retracting an article about the misidentified man. Police later identified a different person, Stephen Paddock, as the shooter.
.. A few hours later, searches for the same name were showing articles debunking the 4chan post and cataloguing the trail of viral fake news after the shooting. Once police identified Paddock, accounts on Twitter and Facebook began claiming he was part of the leftist group Antifa.
Antifa Is Trouble, but Not Terrorism
.. There is a huge difference between countering foreign terrorists, who have no constitutional rights, and domestic ones. The federal government is constitutionally empowered to fight foreign threats. The states are supposed to fight crime, even domestic terrorist violence.
..There is a huge difference between countering foreign terrorists, who have no constitutional rights, and domestic ones. The federal government is constitutionally empowered to fight foreign threats. The states are supposed to fight crime, even domestic terrorist violence.
.. Although treating American radicals and vigilantes the way we treat foreign members of the Islamic State or al-Qaeda might play well in certain corners of the populist Right these days, serious conservatives should be very skeptical about granting the federal government new police powers, which could be used to other ends in future administrations.
.. Elevating Antifa to the category of terrorist organization would fuel the worst trends in our politics. It would entice President Trump to indulge his strongman shtick, and it would give Antifa the stature it clearly craves. It would also likely accelerate vigilante violence among the white nationalists. Launching a federal crusade against domestic enemies would only fuel the fallacy that anyone Antifa attacks is a fascist.