Social Media Quick to Judge, Slow to Absolve

December 18, 2012 – 2:00 pm

Though much of the story surrounding Friday’s horrific massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., remains mystifying, one thing is clear: Ryan Lanza is not the shooter. Contrary to early reports from officials, the shooter has now been identified as Lanza’s brother, Adam, now counted among the dead, along with their mother.

But for several hours, the name Ryan Lanza was synonymous with the heinous killing spree, and a jury of Internet denizens had him condemned as a murderer. And why not? All of the major news outlets had declared it so, citing a credible source, and Lanzas name blazed in headlines.

Almost immediately, websites — homing in on a publicly viewable Facebook profile — took screen grabs of the page to illustrate news stories, identifying him as the deceased killer.

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Social Media Quick to Judge, Slow to Absolve

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