Why does a Sam Hyde meme go viral after every mass shooting?

Why does a Sam Hyde meme go viral after every mass shooting?
Nashville shooter left map and manifesto after shooting six at school, police …

Yesterday, a mass shooting at the Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville resulted in the death of three children under nine years of age and three teachers.

The suspect has now been identified as Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a 28-year-old woman who was fatally shot by police.

As news broke of the shooting, people online falsely named Samantha Hyde as the shooter, but observant Twitter users will be aware that that name, or a variation of it, goes viral almost every time there is a mass shooting and has done since 2015.

Sam Hyde is a relatively well-known comedian and meme in the 4chan community. As part of a hoax by the alt-right, his name has circulated online following mass shootings including Parkland, the Las Vegas massacre, the San Bernardino and Orlando.

But Hyde was not the shooter in any of these events and is in fact a controversial comedian who is part of a sketch group called Million Dollar Extreme. Their short-lived TV show gained an alt-right following and Hyde himself is popular on the infamous anonymous message board 4chan.

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Memes of Hyde appeared on 4chan and began spreading to Twitter after the news of the Nashville shooting. When it was revealed the shooter was a 28-year-old female, the images of Hyde were photoshopped with wigs on and the name of the false shooter changed to Samantha Hyde.

One tweet containing this misinformation on Twitter gathered almost 2,500 likes and over 900 retweets or quote tweets.

Others on Twitter tried to warn others of the hoax: “If you see that the shooter’s name is Samantha Hyde and is a MtF transwoman, that’s a lie.

“It’s a fake image and a MAGA disinformation tactic after every mass shooting. The real image is of Sam Hyde.”

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