Parkland High School Shooting Rumors, Hoaxes, and Conspiracy Theories

A number of unverified claims about the Parkland school shooting spread on social media in its immediate wake.

  • Published 15 February 2018

Mass shootings often come with a huge secondary problem: A wave of rumors, hoaxes, and conspiracy theories that immediately bursts forth in their wake. The 14 February 2018 school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida was no exception; rumors appeared just minutes after the news broke.

We have compiled our stories about the south Florida mass shooting here, which we will update regularly: 

Florida Teen Charged with 17 Murders; Trump Plans Address

Information spread virally was often of dubious veracity and reflected “tropes” commonly invoked after mass shootings, but other rumors were unique to the incident and circumstances:

The suspected shooter was neither a DACA recipient, a Dreamer, or an undocumented immigrant. He was adopted at birth by parents with the surname Cruz and is not undocumented:

Is the Florida High School Shooter a ‘Dreamer’?

A disturbing comment on a YouTube video in September 2017 matched the suspect’s name, but authorities said they were not able to show a link between him and the account responsible for the comment.

Was the FBI Tipped Off About the Parkland Shooter?

A fake screen capture circulated on social media purporting to show a story on BuzzFeed’s site entitled “Why We Need to Take Away White People’s Guns Now, More Than Ever.”

Did BuzzFeed Advocate for Taking Away White People’s Guns?

No evidence support conspiracy theorist speculation about a connection between the shooter and ISIS or other Islamic extremist movements:

Was the Suspected Florida High School Shooter Affiliated with the Islamic State?

A photograph purportedly showing the shooter in an Antifa shirt actually captured a second individual with no connection to the shooting:

Is This the Florida Shooter in an Antifa Shirt?

In addition to including several disturbing images featuring guns, knives, and violence, one of the suspected shooter’s Instagram accounts featured a profile picture of a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat:

Did the Florida Shooter’s Instagram Profile Picture Feature a ‘MAGA’ Hat?