Because to Twitter owner Elon Musk, false information about the neo-Nazi gunman who carried out Saturday’s mass shooting at a shopping center in the Dallas area is spreading on social media.
Musk has questioned whether Mauricio Garcia, the man named by authorities as the shooter, actually had a profile on a Russian social media site.
Musk also suggested that the information about Garcia’s background may be part of a “psyop,” or psychological operation, in which the public is misinformed about the factual circumstances surrounding the shooting.
Garcia has Nazi tattoos and expressed his white supremacist views on social media. Authorities and independent scholars have proved his involvement in white supremacy and far-right extremism.
When police slew Garcia, he was sporting a patch that read “RWDS,” an acronym for “ Right Wing Death Squad.”
Hank Sibley, regional director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, stated during a news conference on Tuesday, “We do know he had neo-Nazi ideation.” He sported patches. He was inked.
Musk also questioned a Dutch research group called Bellingcat that published details about Garcia’s online history, saying in a tweet that it “specializes in psychological operations,” without providing any evidence, but the attack sparked a wave of abuse from Musk’s online supporters toward Bellingcat.
Either this is the strangest story or a terrible psyop!” Musk stated in a tweet that received over 3 million views. Musk also commented on the disclosures of the gunman’s worldview in posts that appeared to refute them.
Musk penned “Very Strange” in one instance. “This gets weirder by the moment,” in other.
The Global Project Against Hate and Extremism, an Alabama-based organization that monitors extremist groups online, examined Garcia’s posts and found a little question that he had highly unfavorable opinions of women, people of color, and Jews.
“Going back ten years, the posts and diary entries show that Garcia held deep-seated white supremacist and neo-Nazi beliefs, misogynistic and incel views, and a proclivity for violence,” the group wrote in its study. “Incel” stands for “involuntarily celibate,” a word used by a movement of primarily online men who accuse women of denying them opportunities for love and sexual fulfillment.
Musk has fired many of the Twitter employees responsible for identifying false information and harmful content, and he has now started to spread incorrect information himself.
Users may now offer context or independently verify statements on Twitter with the new “community notes” function.
However, as of Wednesday, Musk’s Tweets on the shooter had no accompanying community notes.
As is increasingly customary, Twitter responded to inquiries requesting responses about Musk’s deceptive tweets with an automated email containing the poo emoji.
Musk wasn’t the only well-known Twitter user disseminating untrue information about the gunman.
Garcia’s self-described racism was dismissed by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who pointed out that Garcia was Latino.
“Only dumb white people would believe that a Mexican gang member is killing people for white supremacy.”
White nationalist organizations have long sought Latino members; several have developed Spanish-language websites.
Greene’s tweet ignores this fact. And former Proud Boys head Enrique Tarrio, a Cuban American, is one of the most influential far-right organizations in the country.