His Twitter username is Jesus Christos and he might be a biochem major at Northern Illinois University but for he for sure broke Twitter in the early morning hours today with just a few tweets.
And just like that we were off to the races. The tweets were picked up by Huffington Post Associate Editor, Sebastian Murdock who vetted “Jesus” via Twitter direct messages and then wrote up an entire story based on the brief interaction wherein “Jesus” claimed he was best friends with Antonio and that the officer who shot him pulled on a gun on the two of them and told them to get on the ground whereupon, according to the story, Antonio proved defiant and was shot for his troubles.
Except it was all trolling as Murdock was later forced to admit.
I was misled and made a foolish error. Thank you all for pointing this out. I am correcting the story to reflect as much.
— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) December 24, 2014
But by that time it was too late. The millions who read Huffington Post for news had already been exposed to the narrative that a police officer outside St. Louis had shot yet another unarmed Black male and tons of other social media accounts picked up on it. The original article which is now corrected has been shared over 8,000 times and tweeted over 5,000 times. It has 47,000 likes. Now, how many times were those shares and tweets shared? Tens of thousands of times? Hundreds of thousands?
I’ve been seeing this “there’s no evidence Antonio Martin had a gun” stuff based on the reporting that this kid provided all day and no one claiming this seems to know where the information came from or that it has since been retracted. Murdock’s tweet where he states plainly that he was fooled has only been retweeted 250 times. That’s how misinformation becomes the prevalent narrative.
And what was “Jesus’s” next thing to say on Twitter once the fraud was found out?
Classy. I don’t know this kid’s real name and I don’t really want to know. As I understand it, Anonymous is already doxxing the hell out of him. However, this prank has done immeasurable damage on social media already. Even in my earlier article on the shooting this morning, which basically provided quotes and timeline from the St. Louis Dispatch, created an angry response on TC’s Twitter feed all based on false information that people now adamantly believe but that actually just came from this Illinois college student messing with the country and from a journalist dying to be first.
So now you know. Don’t get played.