A network of bots, far-right figures, and conspiracy theorists helped spread a lie about the Odessa shooter’s support of presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a report by Media Matters and a separate investigation by the Washington Post reveal.
Following the Odessa shooting that saw seven victims, a tweet appeared Sunday that falsely claimed that the shooter was “a Democrat Socialist who had a Beto sticker on his truck.”
An intelligence company that tracks misinformation told the Post it had been amplified mainly by bot accounts.
From there, the tweet was shared and mainstreamed with the help of far-right figures– including former White House official Sebastian Gorka– and followers of QAnon, a far-right conspiracy theory that believes the president is under attack by the “deep state.”
“As a campaign, we’re almost entirely powerless to stop misinformation,” wrote O’Rourke’s campaign manager Jen O’Malley Dillon reacting to news. “We can tweet corrections, but only a fragment of the people exposed will see it. This rests on Twitter, Facebook, and Google who let this go completely unchecked.”
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