Fact Check

Photo of Boy in Handcuffs Does Not Show 'GTA VI' Hacker

A YouTube video showed a thumbnail of a young boy being placed into handcuffs, but it had nothing to do with the leak of "GTA VI."

Published Sept. 20, 2022

UKRAINE - 2022/02/11: In this photo illustration, a Rockstar Games Inc logo of a video game publisher is seen on a smartphone and a computer screen. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Image courtesy of Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
A picture shows a 16-year-old boy being placed into handcuffs by a law enforcement officer after he was found to be the hacker who leaked content from "GTA VI."

On Sept. 20, 2022, a YouTube video thumbnail purported to show the face of a "16-year-old hacker" who caused the network intrusion that led to the leak of content from the next Grand Theft Auto video game, which has been unofficially referred to as "GTA VI." However, this picture was misleading.

A video titled GTA 6 LEAK by 16-Year Old HACKER claimed to show the person who leaked content from the Rockstar Games title GTA VI.

Rather than "False," we apply a rating of "Miscaptioned" for special situations like these where a picture is being fact-checked and its caption is incorrect.

The video's title read, "GTA 6 LEAK by 16-Year Old HACKER.. ? (GTA 6 Gameplay Leaks)."

A video titled GTA 6 LEAK by 16-Year Old HACKER claimed to show the person who leaked content from the Rockstar Games title GTA VI.

The full-size thumbnail gave a closer look at the boy. We have censored the photograph since he was a minor when the picture was shot.

In reality, the photograph in the YouTube thumbnail was captured in Indiana in 2017. It showed a 9-year-old boy with autism who was taken into custody following a fight at school. An article published by WRTV provided more details about the incident.

We previously reported on the "GTA VI" leak, which was confirmed by the company that develops the Grand Theft Auto series. In a statement, Rockstar Games said that "an unauthorized third party illegally accessed and downloaded confidential information.” The result of the mid-September leak led to videos of "early development footage" being posted on YouTube and other websites.

According to IGN and Eurogamer, the FBI is looking into the hacking. According to the reporting, the same hacker was believed to have also breached Uber.

Note: The author of this article was employed by Rockstar Games from 2010 through 2013.


“9-Year-Old Boy With Autism Sobs as He’s Arrested for Fighting With Another Student.” Inside Edition, 31 Oct. 2017, https://www.insideedition.com/9-year-old-boy-autism-sobs-hes-arrested-fighting-another-student-37674.

Bajak, Frank. “Serious Breach at Uber Spotlights Hacker Social Deception.” Snopes.com via The Associated Press, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.snopes.com/ap/2022/09/19/serious-breach-at-uber-spotlights-hacker-social-deception/.

Dinsdale, Ryan. “FBI Investigating Alleged Rockstar Hacker.” IGN, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.ign.com/articles/fbi-investigating-alleged-rockstar-hacker.

Hunter, Graham. “9-Year-Old Arrested, Handcuffed at School.” WRTV, 29 Oct. 2017, https://www.wrtv.com/news/local-news/johnson-county/9-year-old-arrested-and-handcuffed-at-elementary-school.

Phillips, Tom. “FBI Investigate Hacker Allegedly behind Rockstar GTA 6 Leak.” Eurogamer, 20 Sept. 2022, https://www.eurogamer.net/fbi-investigating-hacker-who-claimed-to-have-breached-rockstar-and-uber.

Stout, A. “Autistic Boy Was Arrested at School for Attempting to Choke Another Child and a Teacher.” The Autism Site News, 21 Nov. 2017, https://blog.theautismsite.greatergood.com/fighting-bullies/.

Jordan Liles is a Senior Reporter who has been with Snopes since 2016.

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