On Wednesday night, a gunman in Thousands Oaks, California, shot dead at least 12 people at the Borderline Bar & Grill.
The man who police have identified as the suspected shooter is Ian David Long, a 28-year-old Marine veteran who had reportedly been suffering from PTSD.
He shot himself at the scene after carrying out the massacre with a legal 45-calibre handgun, which was fitted with an illegally extended magazine.
Yet before Long's identity was confirmed, numerous conspiracy theorist had begun spreading misinformation that the perpetrator of the attack was a 'Middle Eastern' man.
This appears to have been started by a now-deleted tweet posted by local news anchor Jory Rand who reported that he had spoken to a man who had witnessed the shooting and shooter as "Middle Eastern looking with a beard".
According to The Daily Dot, Rand wrote:
Just spoke with a man who was at the front door of the bar when the shooter began firing.
Says he had a handgun, shot the guard at the door, threw several smoke bombs inside, and then continued firing.
Described shooter as middle eastern looking with a beard. More to come...
An interview was also conducted with the witness and was broadcast on CNN.
This testimony was soon taken as fact by some Twitter users who began to report the story, with some adding that it was a religiously-aggravated terrorist attack.
Many of the tweets spreading the false information have since been deleted.
Paul Joseph Watson, a contributor to Alex Jones' Infowars, has doubled down on his earlier tweet explaining that he was only reporting what he had read on the 'mainstream media' and also shared a screenshot of a Google search which showed that Sky News had reported that witnesses to the shooting had described the shooter as 'Middle Eastern'.
Laura Loomer has described the changing of the 'narrative' to be 'strange' as he was originally a 'Middle Eastern man' but is now a 'white marine.'
Pamela Geller, who is a political activist and commentator, and who has previously been accused of spreading Islamophobia, has accused the media of attempting to protect Islam in her coverage of the story.
HT Daily Dot