Fake identities and reports are swirling around the Las Vegas massacre.
One man has been falsely accused of being at the centre of the attack, despite the fact that police have now named Stephen Paddock as the perpetrator of the worst mass shooting in US history.
The false naming appears partly to be an effort to spread misinformation , propelled by the rush to find out new information. Some of the people spreading the false reports appear to be doing so with a political intent.
In the hours after the attack, amid a rush to find the latest news, a number of social media users named Geary Danley as the shooter. That was apparently because of a connection to Marilou Danley, the woman that police were searching for in the hours after the attack and have now allowed to go free.
But police confirmed that the man at the centre of the attack was Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old man from Nevada. He is now dead, and authorities believe he committed suicide.
That did not stop people before and after the identity was revealed associating Mr Danley with the attack. Although some of the attempts to associate it with him appear to be genuine mistakes, others are intentional efforts to link his politics with the massacre.
People on social media attempting to find the identity of the attacker found Mr Danley's profile page, and with it the fact that he had liked a set of left-wing and liberal social media pages. He was a member of groups including "Thank You Obama" and a whole host of pages devoted to opposing Donald Trump, for instance.
He is also a registered Democrat and appears to have given his support to progressive causes.
It appears to be that which is helping propel the idea that Mr Danley was at the centre of the attack. It is now being spread by a number of people who publicly support Mr Trump with the message that it was an attack by a leftist – and by those who oppose Mr Trump, as an example of the kind of false stories that are circulating around US politics.
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies