Not long after the name of the shooter who killed nearly 30 people — including 20 children — was released following a tragedy Friday morning at a Connecticut elementary school, many people rushed to Facebook to find the social media profile of Ryan Lanza. The Facebook profile of a Ryan Lanza from Newtown, Conn. was posted all over the Internet, with roughly 9,000 people sharing his profile photo. However, the early reports were erroneous, and it was later confirmed that the shooter was 24-year-old Ryan Lanza’s 20-year-old brother, Adam Lanza.
This scenario, with mistaken identity, is much like the social media reaction following the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., earlier this year.
Seconds after news outlets reported that a man in his early 20s named Ryan Lanza was identified as the shooter, people swarmed Facebook with searches for his name. A profile that lists Ryan Lanza with a hometown of Newtown, Conn., where the shooting occurred, was spread around the Internet. The profile has since been taken down.
Andrew Fletcher, who is also Facebook friends with Lanza, tweeted screenshots from Lanza’s profile, showing that the man whose profile was shared wildly is not the same man responsible for the tragedy:
Teaser image courtesy of Shutterstock.