A troll explains why he tweeted a fake 'missing dad' picture from the Las Vegas shooting

It’s a sad state of affairs when it has become routine to see hoaxes and fake news doing the rounds during big breaking news stories. And the latest shooting in Las Vegas is no exception. 

One particular type of trolling that has recently rose to prominence is where a Twitter user intentionally posts a picture of someone during a crisis, erroneously claiming it’s a missing relative or friend. All in the name of getting extra followers or retweets.  

Trolls spreading fake ‘missing friends’ photos were quite active in the aftermath of the Manchester attack that killed 22 people in May. 

Now, the same technique is being applied to the Las Vegas shooting in which at least 20 people have been killed.  

Fake Twitter account jack sins (@immyxrx) has used the profile picture below of YouTuber TheReportOfTheWeek, who has more than 22,000 subscribers.

The same profile photo was used by the account @gamergateantifa during the Manchester attack to claim that their son was missing in the arena. The tweet got more than 14,000 retweets, forcing the YouTuber to clarify on Twitter and YouTube that he was in America, not Manchester. 

During the Las Vegas shooting, jack sins tweeted a picture purportedly of his missing dad and asked for retweets: 

However, the guy in the photo is actually Johnny Sins, a porn star. 

Mashable reached out to the troll to ask why he’s spreading misinformation during such a critical time. 

“I think you know why,” he replied. “For the retweets :)”

When Mashable pointed out that it’s unethical to spread misinformation when people are desperately looking for their missing family and friends, he just said: “You are right I’m sorry.”

“Jack Sins” said he chose TheReportOfTheWeek (aka Reviewbrah) just because he’s a meme and tweeted Johnny Sins because he “is a living legend.”

Asked whether he’s done it before and whether he’d do it again, he replied: 

“Yes and maybe”. 

Here’s the whole conversation: 

Using images of well known figures (like YouTube stars or comedians) is now a wide spread practice during breaking news events. 

In June, following a terrorist attack near a mosque in north London, fake reports stated that British authorities identified the attacker as Sam Hyde, an American man. 

The same thing happened after the Las Vegas shooting:

Hyde is actually an internet comedian with a history of pranks who has frequently been misattributed as the “lone white gunman” in many of the mass shootings in the U.S. and terrorist attacks in Europe of the past few years, including San Bernardino, Baton Rouge and Orlando. 

No matter how many times this happens, it’s still incomprehensible. 

WATCH: Actors put their own homemade spin on this classic ‘Die Hard’ scene

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