Parody Twitter accounts were circulating false and unverified details about the identities of the shooters in a Quebec-area mosque on Sunday.
Six people were killed during the shooting at the mosque in Sainte-Foy, outside Quebec City, Sunday evening. Police said early Monday morning that two people have been arrested.
The Twitter account “Reuter New Braek,” which identifies itself as a parody account in its profile, tweeted that police had identified the assailants as two white supremacists, David Aurine and Mathieu Fournier. Police had not publicly identified any suspects at that time.
The tweet was retweeted over 1,000 times in roughly one hour. Many Twitter users weighed in though, saying that this tweet was obviously false and that a lot of “fake news” was circulating about the attack. The website “The Daily Beast” ran a story citing the Reuters parody account on its site and was the target of much of the ridicule.
Police took two individuals into custody Sunday. On Monday, the Sûreté du Québec said that after further investigation, only one of the two was still considered a suspect. Multiple Quebec media outlets reported the individuals’ names as Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed Belkhadir.
Bissonnette is now the sole suspect in the mass shooting, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.