On Monday evening, an explosion at Manchester Arena in England killed at least 22 people and injured dozens more. The incident — which has since been claimed by ISIS and the suicide bomber identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi — happened after an Ariana Grande concert. Following the bombing, people flocked to social media to try to help reunite missing people — many of the concertgoers were teenage girls — with their families and friends. Except, as first spotted by the Washington Post, many of the photos being shared, mostly in composite collages, weren’t of lost concertgoers. Instead, several included pictures of internet celebrities, YouTubers, and even the founder of 4chan.
Several of the people whose photos were co-opted for the hoax have since spoken out, letting followers know the truth. John, the teenage host and food critic behind Report of the Week, posted a video entitled “I Am Alive” and offered his sympathies to the victims of the Manchester bombing. He notes that he was in the United States during the attack.
YouTuber EvaDeMetal started her own hashtag, #PrayForEva, when she discovered that her photo was included among the “missing.” Which is not a great joke to make amid a terrorist attack that claimed the lives of an 8-year-old and 21 others. (Though it was certainly not the worst “joke” made regarding Monday’s attack. Congrats to David Leavitt of Boston for that one.) Other fake missing people included a young boy with autism and a journalist from the Daily Beast. Only three of the victims of the attack have been officially identified so far.
Another piece of fake news regarding Ariana Grande also circulated following the attack. A photo of Grande — covered in dirt and with cheeks smeared in blood — popped up on Twitter on Monday evening. The image was a paparazzi photo from two years back, on the set of Scream Queens. Grande was not harmed in the blast and has reportedly suspended the rest of her Dangerous Woman tour in Europe.