Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
Business | By Max Garcia

Mass shooting conspiracy theory video trends on YouTube

Mass shooting conspiracy theory video trends on YouTube

The students have become the subject of online conspiracy theories which claim they are working for a group that travel across the country planting "actors" at the scene of crises.

In the wake of the February 14 shooting rampage that left 17 dead, Hogg became one of the leading student voices advocating for gun reform via social media and during many TV interviews.

The story's content alleged: "David Hogg is a school shooting survivor in Florida".

"This video should never have appeared in Trending", a YouTube spokesperson told HuffPost.

"It's not against the rules to post something untrue, as we always hear these companies say they don't want to be the arbiters of truth, but YouTube, at least, has decided that if you are playing a hoax on a victim of a tragedy, that's very clearly harassment", Lapowsky said. We've seen similar moves by them many times over.

Rebecca Boldrick, Hogg's mother, told The Washington Post that her family has received death threats since the conspiracy theories started surfacing, saying, "I'm under so much stress".

The far-right publication published photos, claiming to be of Hogg, both at a CNN newsdesk and wearing a CNN T-shirt before last week's shooting.

Numerous comments on the video uploaded by "mike. m" accuse George Soros and news network CNN of planting Hogg at the scene to vilify gun ownership. The clip showed footage of a 2017 news report by CBS's L.A. affiliate, KCBS, in which Hogg was interviewed about a video he took about a confrontation between a lifeguard and bodysurfer in Redondo Beach, California.

Since the shooting, Hogg and other student survivors have become vocal advocates for gun control in the United States. Many commentators called the clip proof he is a crisis actor "bought and paid by CNN and George Soros".

The conspiratorial site responsible for pushing the claim into the mainstream internet was right-wing blogger Jim Hoft's Gateway Pundit.

"I need to make these people's voices heard so that they don't die in vain", said Hogg. Of the 10 videos he has uploaded, three have to do with Stoneman Douglas, including "David Hogg Can't Remember His Lines When Interviewed for Florida school shooting". President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump, Jr., "liked" a pair of tweets making such claims about Hogg, The New York Times reported.

The fact that a post peddling freakish misinformation became the top trending video on YouTube has many critics concerned that social media platforms do not do enough to stop such distortions from spreading to potentially millions of people.

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