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Photos of at least three trans women were being circulated to spread baseless theory
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Related: Texas attorney general calls for teachers to be armed after massacre in Uvalde
A transgender woman has hit out at misinformation on the internet after she was falsely identified as the shooting suspect involved in Uvalde, Texas.
Sam, 20, who lives in Georgia, found on Tuesday that a photograph she had posted three months ago on Reddit was being shared widely as that of the person responsible for the shooting in an elementary school in Uvalde, which killed 19 children and two adults.
This was the deadliest mass shooting this year in the US, and the 27th shooting at a school.
Some social media users alerted her that the allegations had appeared on 4chan, a far-right messaging board with little moderation. Some photographs were also taken from her Instagram account, and the misinformation spread rapidly. Soon, she began facing harassment and threats.
“This isn’t the first time I was harassed, but it is the first time I’ve been accused of murder,” she told NBC News on Wednesday. However, she said she was more annoyed than anything.
Sam, whose photo was falsely spread online in connection with the Uvalde shooting
“I’m more worried about the families of the victims of the attack,” she said.
In an effort to stop the conspiracy theories, Sam posted another photograph of herself with the date on Reddit on Wednesday. “It’s not me, I don’t even live in Texas,” she wrote.
The shooter, identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, was killed on the scene by the police.
The Uvalde school shooter was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos
Sam is not the only trans woman who was at the receiving end of such a misinformation campaign.
Photos of at least two other trans women were reportedly being circulated to spread similar baseless theories.
Trans Safety Network, a UK-based group that monitors online threats made against the trans community, also debunked these claims.
In a statement on Wednesday, the group said that far-right and gender-critical users were “sharing false claims that the shooter was actually a trans woman”.
Gun-control advocates hold a vigil outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia
“The viral tweets combined published photos of the actual shooter with pictures of 3 different trans people wearing skirts (none of which was the shooter),” the group said.
The group also listed conservative social media users who were sharing this claim, including Arizona representative Paul Gosar, a member of the Republican Party.
On Tuesday, Mr Gosar tweeted that the 21 people killed at Texas’ Robb Elementary School were victims of a “transsexual leftist illegal alien”, according to screenshots of the post. He has since deleted the tweet.
Others who shared the fales claim about a trans woman being the shooter included a Facebook page called Young Conservatives of Southern Indiana, which has more than 4,000 followers, and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Mr Jones, who has a large following within the alt-right, had earlier also claimed the school shooting was a hoax.
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Sam, whose photo was falsely spread online in connection with the Uvalde shooting
Sam/reddit
The Uvalde school shooter was identified as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos
Texas Department of Public Safety
Gun-control advocates hold a vigil outside the National Rifle Association headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia
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