Las Vegas: The fake photos shared after tragedies

YouTuber 'TheReportOfTheWeek'

At least 50 people have died and hundreds have been injured in a mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Revellers attending an open-air music festival fled the scene in panic as a gunman, named by police as 64-year-old Las Vegas resident Stephen Paddock, opened fire from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay Hotel.

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As emergency services raced to the scene, the response on social media was similarly rapid.

Among the sympathy, the shocking eyewitness video and the desperate scrabble for information, photos which falsely claimed to be victims or attackers began to circulate.

It’s a depressingly familiar formula. Tragic news of mass shootings and terrorism is seemingly always followed by a flurry of false information peppering social networks with misdirection or misunderstanding.

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And many of the same photos crop up again; tragedy memes played for laughs and retweets, even as the real victims still lie dead, dying and injured.

Probably the most well-known of these memes features an image of US comedian Sam Hyde. His image has been circulating again following the attack in Las Vegas. CNN mistakenly included his image reporting on a college shooting in Oregon in October 2015.

Tweet including picture of US comedian Sam Hyde, falsely linked to Las Vegas shooting

Image-sharing site 4chan – known to many as the birthplace of hacking collective Anonymous and as a repository for hacked photos of naked celebrities – is thought to be behind the Sam Hyde meme. He has been falsely named online as the perpetrator of scores of mass shootings, including the 2015 San Bernardinoattack in which 14 victims were killed.

The Twitter account which posted the image of Hyde above – tweet pinned to the top of the account: “All I really know is that I want to make you all laugh and try to give you hope for the future” – is far from the only one to have shared Hyde’s image.

Fake photos of victims or missing have also circulated.