Florida Shooting Survivors Now At The Center Of Conspiracy Theories

Other, more mainstream conservatives are questioning whether the survivors are little more than pawns manipulated by Democrats, gun-control activists and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Pro-Trump accounts on social media have shared the stories on Twitter and in some cases have thousands of retweets. The tweet reaped 8,300 retweets and a like from Donald Trump Jr.

An expansive network of Russian social media bots has zeroed in on David Hogg, a Florida school shooting survivor who's been the target of far-right conspiracy theorists in recent days.

Hogg has also been accused of being coached by his father, a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent, to speak out against Donald Trump. The only evidence for this ridiculous claim is that Hogg himself mentioned his father is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent in an interview.

"I'm not a crisis actor", Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student David Hogg told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

The claims that Hogg and other Douglas students are actors helping to promote anti-gun legislation have spread far and wide in cyberspace and elsewhere.

"These people saying this is absolutely disturbing". Others claim that he is being coached by his father, who is a former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent. He said that if he believed an assault weapons ban "would have prevented this from happening, I would have supported it".

"The fact that Donald Trump Jr. liked that post is disgusting to me", he added.

Another Stoneman Douglas High alumnus tweeted a video, which showed him flipping to Hogg's photo in a Douglas yearbook. "It just shows how weak the other side's argument is, like they have to attack the messengers since the message is airtight".

"Those are the people who are at fault here".

Even as they cope with the trauma of the event and the loss of classmates, numerous students have bravely gone public with their opinions on the attacks, calling for their state and federal government to enact significant gun safety measures in response.

Actual "crisis actors" do exist and there's nothing controversial about them - they're simply performers hired to play disaster victims in emergency drills or wounded combatants in military exercises.

YouTube faced criticism for prominently featuring a video that claimed Hogg was a crisis actor.

The YouTube playlist doesn't mean that it has received the most views of any video on the site - only that it is "trending", indicating that a lot of people are watching it and it is growing quickly.

The company said in a statement that its system "misclassified" the video because it "contained footage from an authoritative news source".

"This video has been removed for violating YouTube's policy on harassment and bullying", a message says at the link where the video had been posted. And I love it because it means what we are doing is working.

It goes without saying that pushing a insane conspiracy theory for your own gains in the wake of a tragedy is devoid of humanity.

While the school's policy keeps it from confirming a student's enrollment - consider this, fellow Douglas students ran to Hogg's defense online, as did US Florida Senator Marco Rubio.

Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu also tweeted to dismiss the theory, writing: "THIS CONSPIRACY THEORY IS INSANE". I am appalled at and strongly denounce his comments about the Parkland students.

"We're realistic teenagers that realise the only way to save as many children's lives as possible at this point is to compromise", he said by telephone from Los Angeles.

Mr Hogg became well-known in the wake of the shooting when it emerged he had interviewed class mates while the shooting was taking place, and gave an interview where he looked into the camera and called for politicians to bring change.

"I just think it's a testament to the sick immaturity and broken state of our government when these people feel the need to peddle conspiracy theories about people that were in a school shooting where 17 people died, and it just makes me sick". Both claims are false.

  • Jon Douglas