May 19, 2022

Twitter accounts falsely posing as news organizations sometimes share misinformation during big, developing breaking news stories, such as the recent shooting in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead and others injured.

One such account misleadingly appeared to be a CBS News outlet in New Zealand and tweeted about the supposed arrest of two more suspects in the shooting, as well as another victim. Social media users responded by circulating a screenshot of the posts.

“#BREAKING,” read the first tweet, which included four photos. “Two individuals arrested in connection with the #Buffalo mass shooting: Dimitri Potapoff (top) and Richard McWingo (bottom), were arrested by Buffalo law enforcement on Sunday. They allegedly provided weapons, ammunition, and body armor for the shooter.”

The second tweet said: “Another victim of the #Buffalo mass shooting has been identified as Bernie Gores, aged 35.”

Facebook posts sharing images of these tweets were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

(Screenshot, Facebook)

The Twitter account for CBS New Zealand — @CBSNewNZ — uses the same logo as the actual CBS News but it isn’t affiliated. This CBS New Zealand account was created in March 2022 and had seven followers as of May 17.

Police have arrested one suspect in the shooting: Payton Gendron, who authorities identified as the gunman. And a person named Bernie Gores is not among those who were killed. But we’ve previously written about someone by that fictitious name in connection with false claims about a journalist executed by the Taliban.

Richard McWingo, as you may have guessed by the last name, does not appear to be a real person. Searching for the name on Google only returned four results, all connected with this tweet, and the White Pages has no entries for that name anywhere in the United States.

Dimtri Potapoff appears to be the fictional character created by a YouTuber known for filming himself shooting guns.

We rate this post False.

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and…
Ciara O'Rourke

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