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Within hours of the shooting at Santa Fe High School, fake news stories appeared on social media claiming that the shooter had clear political allegiances.
"Breaking: Santa Fe killer expresses his love for Obama," said a May 18 headline by The Daily World Update.
Facebook flagged this story as part of its efforts to combat false news and misinformation on Facebook's News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We found no evidence that the suspect loved Obama.
The story falsely said that "Dimitrius Pagopogouritz is a liberal whose immigrant parents raised him on welfare in the projects of San Dimas." The story invented a "leaked interview with police" in which the suspect "admitted he was an Obama-loving moonbat who was looking to ‘end gun violence’ by adding another shooting."
The first sign that this is made up is that the suspect’s name is wrong; his actual name is Dimitrios Pagourtzis.
The story also makes up all sorts of ridiculous details, including that suspect’s father is serving a life sentence for stealing "6,000 pounds of tainted turkey bacon."
Law enforcement has not released information about a motive for the mass shooting that left 10 people dead. The mother of one victim said that her daughter had recently turned down the advances of the boy.
The Daily World Update is linked to a frequent purveyor of hoaxes, Christopher Blair, who says he creates fake stories to make money. While Blair identifies The Daily World Update as satire, other blogs often pick up Blair’s stories without the satire asterisk.
Fake accounts imitating the suspect on Facebook also depicted him wearing a hat showing support for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential bid, with a background photo displaying a banner espousing anti-fascists, or Antifa, views.
The Daily World headline said, "Breaking: Santa Fe killer expresses his love for Obama." We found no evidence that the suspect declared his love for Obama. We rate this statement Pants on Fire.
The Daily World Update, "Breaking: Santa Fe killer expresses his love for Obama," May 18, 2018
The Daily World Update, Disclaimer, Accessed May 21, 2018
New York Times, "Who Is Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the Texas Shooting Suspect?" May 18, 2018
AP, "In deadly school shooting, a confession but motive a mystery," May 20, 2018
Los Angeles Times, "Texas school shooter killed girl who turned down his advances and embarrassed him in class, her mother says," May 20, 2018
PolitiFact, Daily World Update’s file, Accessed May 21, 2018
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