Media outlets falsely linked Facebook profile to alleged Newtown shooter; Updated!/BiasedGirl/status/279671129260580864

The alleged gunman in this morning’s horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, has been identified as 24-year-old Ryan Lanza. And in their rush to learn more about Lanza, they turned to Facebook:

Photo on every network comes from Ryan Lanza FB page.

— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) December 14, 2012

“That is the face of the young man, Ryan Lanza,” WCBS-TVnews anchor says as station flashes unconfirmed Facebook photo.

— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) December 14, 2012

“Unconfirmed” is the operative word.

@justin_hart I’m scared for that guy if he’s not the shooter.@jedediahbila

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) December 14, 2012

It appears that they may have shone the spotlight on the wrong man:

RT @kfcbarstool: The Ryan Lanza facebook account being passed around is not the shooter.… That dude’s life is ruined.

— David Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) December 14, 2012

Repeat RT @simonmaloy: RT @mattbors: I’m FB friends with the profile being sent around. This is a real screen grab.…

— Charlie Spiering (@charliespiering) December 14, 2012

RT @amandamarcotte: I have a mutual friend with the Ryan Lanza on Facebook, one I trust: He verifies that the Facebook Lanza is posting.

— allisonkilkenny (@allisonkilkenny) December 14, 2012

Looks like that Facebook page of the Ryan Lanza we linked to was incorrect one. Retracting previous Tweet:…

— Slate (@Slate) December 14, 2012

It’s the media’s job to inform the public, and in order to do so, they need to rigorously check their facts.

People are linking to rogue Facebook pages? Stop it.

— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) December 14, 2012

What is wrong with ppl?!? RT @h_linville: News outlets have gotten it wrong before, people. Don’t tweet FB profile links.

— Redness (@maryclimer) December 14, 2012

some are linking to a Facebook account claiming it is the CT shooter. It is NOT. Don’t spread bad info that could cause further violence!

— Thomas Peters (@AmericanPapist) December 14, 2012

I don’t know if everyone is aware of this, but Facebook is not an FBI database.

— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) December 14, 2012

Please read @benhowe‘s last tweet — many are misidentifying the shooter and probably putting an innocent kid in danger.

— Teri Christoph (@TeriChristoph) December 14, 2012

To the media who posted the Facebook page of the wrong Ryan Lanza, this should be a lesson to you. But I know you’ll do it again next time.

— The Real Josh Fisher (@FishJer) December 14, 2012

The media will have a damn field day with Facebook when John Smith guns folks down. Sheesh.

— Matthew Hurtt (@matthewhurtt) December 14, 2012

Media outlets putting up social media pages/pics,& asking “Is this the shooter?” Way it works is you put up the story when you know it’s him

— Justin Fenton (@justin_fenton) December 14, 2012

I feel bad for the Ryan Lanza that is NOT the shooter. Dude is gonna have a hell of a day. Good job MSM, you’ve convicted another innocent.

— Brandon Morse (@CnservativePunk) December 14, 2012

The race to be 1st continues “@iowaradioguy: Media spreading the wrong Ryan Lanza’s Facebook profile. Way to ruin a kid’s life. Holy cow.”

— Heather Burnside (@HLBurnside) December 14, 2012

The Facebook page has since been taken down:

Facebook has already taken down Ryan Lanza’s Profile

— Peter T. Maxwell Jr (@PeterTMaxwellJr) December 14, 2012

But the damage may already be done.

It blows my mind how fast we can lynch mob in the digital age (Ryan Lanza “burn in hell” Facebook page already launched).

— Omar Mouallem (@omar_aok) December 14, 2012

Ugh. RT @charliespiering Ryan Lanza hate Facebook pages sprouting up like crazy but its not the dude…

— Erica Palan (@errrica) December 14, 2012



The media’s rush to finger the shooter may have made this horrible story even messier. Numerous outlets are now reporting that the shooter was in fact 20-year-old Adam Lanza and that Ryan Lanza is currently in police custody.

Now: Mix up with Ryan and Adam Lanza, and which one was the shooter. Also, dead shooter had Ryan Lanza’s ID

— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) December 14, 2012

RT @andreamorabito: Fox News now reporting Ryan Lanza is in custody, brother Adam is the shooter

— Matthew Keys (@TheMatthewKeys) December 14, 2012

FOX News just reported the shooter was 20 yr-old Adam Lanza and not his 24 year-old brother Ryan??

— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) December 14, 2012

The mistake may have been the result of law enforcement officials’ error:

Authorities say they mixed information and gave it to the press. Told reporters Ryan Lanza was shooter, he isn’t Adam Lanza is

— Katie Pavlich (@KatiePavlich) December 14, 2012

One thing is definitely certain: only the most extreme caution will do.

Wow. I feel really bad for Ryan Lanza now.

— RB (D) (@RBPundit) December 14, 2012

News media not exactly covering itself with glory today. Getting it right is more important than getting it first.

— Karen Tumulty(@ktumulty) December 14, 2012

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