In the media’s rush to find out information on the suspected Newtown, Connecticut, school shooter, numerous news outlets misidentified a Facebook page belonging to someone with a similar name. Denunciations and even death threats quickly accumulated.
CNN, the Huffington Post, Slate and other news organizations pointed to the Facebook page of one Ryan Lanza, who hails from Newtown and currently lives in New Jersey. “Ryan Lanza Facebook Page Shows Suggestive Details Of Apparent Newtown, Connecticut Shooting Suspect,” was Huffington Post’s original headline before it realized the error. As of 5 p.m. EST, the Connecticut state police are declining to identify the shooter.
The public profile photo on the Facebook account was shared over 3,000 times (Update 5:00 EST: It’s up to 14,000 times now). Many came with scary comments. “You Is A Dead Man Walking…” read one. “WHAT COULD POSSIBLY MAKE YOU WANT TO KILL LITTLE BABIES,” read another. “Selfish. Cowardly. Weak. Damned,” read a thir
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