Image of man driving vehicle not linked to car that drove through parade in Waukesha

(Reuters) - An image circulating online of a man driving a red car is digitally altered and does not show the vehicle which sped through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Nov. 21. The image is a hoax that regularly resurfaces online following attacks or shootings.

One Twitter user shared the image with a caption that reads: “This is a a [sic] photo of the man who plowed his vehicle into the #Waukesha Christmas parade. Please spread this image to help identify this villain!” The tweet was screenshotted and shared on Facebook by other social media users (here), (here), (here).

Another user who shared the altered photograph on Twitter said: “They just released details of the suspect” (here).

A video of the incident posted online shows a red sport utility vehicle plowing at speed through the parade in Waukesha (here).

This photograph of the man in the vehicle is not recent, however, and was digitally altered to change the colour of the vehicle from silver to red.

Reuters could not find the original source of the image. However, a reverse image search revealed that the photograph - with the car in silver - has been circulating online since at least 2015.

The image is regularly shared by social media users as an internet hoax which surfaces following mass shootings or attacks (here), (archive.md/5S1bi).

Users have shared this image of the man in a vehicle, and other images, as a hoax following several incidents since 2015, (here), (here).

“The image in question is a variation of a meme featuring comedian Sam Hyde that originated on 4chan, the online messaging board known for hate, bigotry and conspiracy theories. For years, 4chan users routinely reacted to any mass shooting incident by posting photos of Hyde holding a firearm and claiming he was the gunman, with the hope being that the false claim would deceive journalists, politicians or the public and they would unknowingly promote this claim,” Ciaran O’Connor, analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue (ISD), told Reuters.

“Over time, the meme has moved beyond 4chan and is now, sadly, a common response from some online communities to a shooting or mass casualty incident who regularly post photos of Hyde along with some information linking him to the incident but as claims featuring information or photos of Hyde are always, without fail, false,” he added.

At least 5 were killed and over 40 injured after a vehicle drove through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Waukesha Police Department said in a Facebook post on Nov. 22 (here).

Waukesha Police Chief, Dan Thompson, earlier told reporters that a person of interest was in custody (here).


VERDICT


False. An image of a man driving a red vehicle has been digitally altered and is unconnected with the SUV that plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin on Nov. 21. The image has previously resurfaced online as an internet hoax.