Fake Viral GIF Goes After Parkland Survivor

Depicts Emma Gonzalez tearing up the Constitution, but it never happened
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2018 10:50 AM CDT
Fake Viral GIF Goes After Parkland Survivor
Emma Gonzalez, a survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., cries during a moment of silence for the victims in Washington, Saturday, March 24, 2018.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

A GIF creating an uproar on social media shows a Parkland survivor ripping up the US Constitution—but the scene never happened. Emma Gonzalez, an 18-year-old leader of the students calling for gun control, was photographed for Teen Vogue tearing up a shooting target. Someone edited the magazine's image to instead appear to show Gonzalez ripping up the Constitution. (See both the original version and the fake version at BuzzFeed.) The fake version was shared by both verified and unverified accounts on Twitter, and the Washington Post reports that its biggest boost came when actor Adam Baldwin shared it with the caption, "#Vorwärts!"—the word "forward" in German and an apparent reference to Hitler Youth.

Many appeared to take the GIF (as well as still images appearing to show the same thing) as fact, though others, including professor Donald Moynihan, debunked it: "Just a sample of what NRA supporters are doing to teenagers who survived a massacre" he tweeted, alongside a comparison of the real and the fake images. Meanwhile, Teen Vogue is running the real images along with Gonzalez's op-ed on gun control, in which she outlines what the teen activists want: "We need to digitize gun-sales records, mandate universal background checks, close gun-show loopholes and straw-man purchases, ban high-capacity magazines, and push for a comprehensive assault weapons ban with an extensive buyback system," she writes. (The band leader who survived the Bataclan shooting is fiercely critical of the student protesters.)

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