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A fake quote from a parent of a victim of the Nashville shooting went viral—with help from Twitter Blue

A verified Twitter user posted a fake screenshot from a Nashville news stations that included a threat of violence against trans people.


Jacob Seitz


Posted on Mar 29, 2023

A fake tweet from a Twitter Blue verified user stoked fears online after the shooting in Nashville Monday that killed six people, including three children.

The tweet, which shows an apparent screenshot of a tweet sent out by Nashville’s WSMV-TV station, attributes a quote to the father of one of the children who was killed Monday. The quote is fake and WSMV never sent out the tweet.

The fake quote claims the parent of a victim said they would “fight with every fiber of my being” to end “trans evil.”

The shooter, Audrey Hale, was a trans man, according to reports.

WSMV verified that they never posted the quote in a separate tweet.

The original post, from user @Trad_West_Art, who has a verification badge because they subscribe to Twitter’s premium service, seems to have been deleted. The tweet, according to the screenshot, was viewed over 130,000 times before it was removed.

According to Alex Kaplan at Media Matters for America, the post first appears on a Gab account.

The fake tweet comes on the heels of conservative outrage over the gender identity of the shooter, despite a distinct lack of outrage about gender or identity in other mass shootings. The post also raised questions about the harms that Twitter Blue and Twitter’s new, ad hoc checkmark system can cause, especially in the wake of a national tragedy.

The incident follows announcements from Twitter last week that users who are verified on the platform but not Twitter Blue subscribers would lose their verification on April 1. CEO Elon Musk later clarified that the verification would remain for people affiliated with a “verified organization” but it’s unclear how that affiliation would work.

Musk also said this week that “only verified accounts” will be eligible to be in Twitter’s “For You” recommendation tab, essentially granting Twitter Blue subscribers a larger audience, regardless of what they tweet.

Twitter users were quick to respond to the fake tweet as a sign of things to come. 

“Oh good just a small taste of what it will be like when they get rid of the legacy blue checks and this bs is multiplied,” one user said.

“Can’t wait for them to suspend the account a day too late then reinstate it an hour later,” said another.

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*First Published: Mar 29, 2023, 5:28 pm CDT