Twitter allowed a wave of verified progressive accounts to spread false (and arguably racist) information about the man who opened fire in a Boulder, Colorado supermarket, killing ten innocent people.
Before police identified the attacker, a number of tweets from these accounts strongly alleged that the criminal was typically a white male and that’s why he was not killed, but taken into custody. Once it was determined that the identity of the perpetrator was Ahmad Al Alawi Alissa, of Syrian origin, Twitter took no action on the matter: it did not censor the posts, suspend the accounts, or post warnings of false information or information that needs to be verified.
Byline Times correspondent CJ Werlerman stated that “the suspected gunman in the Boulder, Colorado mass shooting is a white guy. Cue ‘mental issues,’ ‘parking dispute,’ or anything else other than what he most likely is: a white domestic terrorist.”
Cartoonist Carlos Latuff shared a cartoon of his own of a Trump supporter wearing an NRA cap and carrying a gun walking out of a school after apparently killing children. The unfortunate cartoon was accompanied by the message “Another mass shooting in the U.S. Another white guy with an AR-15. Another achievement of NRA.”
Feminist and author Amy Siskind, also verified, tweeted “In other words, it was almost certainly a white man (again). If he was black or brown he would be dead.”
Deadspin editor and USA Today editor are seen chatting and spreading the same lie. DiCaro wrote “extremely tired of people’s lives depending on whether a white man with an AR-15 is having a good day or not,” to which USA Today‘s Hemal Jhaveri responded “it’s always an angry white man, always.”
George Hahn tweeted “when a white shooter with an AR-15 shoots and kills a bunch of people, is the motive really relevant?”
“Call it what it is… White supremacist domestic terrorism,” actress Rosanna Arquette commented after news broke of the shooting in Boulder, Colorado.
Oni Blackstock also wanted to take advantage of misinformation by saying “People will continue to die just so that white men can own guns and reinforce the power they already have.”
Twitter has not yet taken action on the matter, has not reported these posts, nor has it placed warnings on them for questionable or unverified information.