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You are here: Home / Cybercrime / Fake News Follows YouTube Shooting
Fake News, Hackers Follow YouTube Shooting
Fake News, Hackers Follow YouTube Shooting
By Ethan Baron Like this on Facebook Tweet this Link thison Linkedin Link this on Google Plus
It took little time after Tuesday's shooting at YouTube's headquarters in San Bruno for fake-news purveyors and at least one hacker to jump on the event and start spreading misinformation on social media.

The female shooter took her own life after targeting and critically wounding her boyfriend and injuring two others in an open courtyard at the company's campus, authorities said.

A hacker targeted YouTube employee Vadim Lavrusik's Twitter account a few hours after he tweeted that he'd heard shots and was barricaded in a room with colleagues. A number of fake tweets were posted on his timeline, one of them a homophobic insult. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, "We're on it." Lavrusik later tweeted that he had his account "back."

Twitter's "safety" department tweeted that the company was aware of "attempts by some people to deceive others with misinformation around this tragedy." The department said it was taking action on anything violating its rules.

That action appeared to include shutting down an account that had on Tuesday afternoon tweeted a photo of a woman said to be the suspect, suggesting police had released it. Police had not named a suspect or released any photos. By Tuesday evening, the account that tweeted the photo had been shut down.

Another tweet claimed at least 40 people had been injured in the shooting "by a female Muslim terrorist wearing a headscarf."

A reporter who took to Twitter to call out fake-news tweets identifying as the shooter a range of people -- including Hillary Clinton and several YouTube performers -- was herself identified as the attacker.

"This is literally me," Jane Lytvynenko tweeted above a tweet of her picture claiming she was responsible for the gunfire.

Similar false identifications were also posted to online forum 4chan, Buzzfeed reported. A video posted to Facebook said the shooting had been "staged" in a "government false flag" operation, according to Buzzfeed. Other people also asserted on Facebook that the attack had been staged.

Online forum Reddit also played host to conspiracy theories, with one user suggesting Facebook was responsible for the shooting -- to look good in relation to its rival Google because it knew victims would be taken to the San Francisco hospital bearing Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's name.

"Could Facebook have just retaliated by shooting up Youtube HQ where it knew that the victim's would be rushed to the nearby Zuckerberg Hospital -- thus shining a good deed of a light on Zuckerberg's philanthropic hospital donation," the post said.

© 2018 San Jose Mercury News under contract with NewsEdge/Acquire Media. All rights reserved.

Image credit: iStock; Artist's concept.

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