Before these developments, a number of news sites — including The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Mediaite, Slate and Fox News — linked to a Facebook profile of someone named Ryan Lanza, saying either that he was or that he appeared to be the gunman.
However, Lanza quickly scotched the speculation by taking to his Facebook page after people began attacking him from all sides. He responded to critics by saying that it was not him—that he was at work when the shooting occurred—but his picture and profile had already made its way around the web as the shooter. A Ryan Lanza on Twitter was also misidentified by fellow users. “So [apparently] im getting spammed bc someone with the same name as me killed some ppl… wtf?,” he wrote.
BuzzFeed removed its story, “First Possible Photo Of Suspected Sandy Hook Shooter” after it became clear the website identified the wrong person.
Personally, I think that every person in America named “Ryan Lanza” should sue the hell out of all of those organizations mentioned above, explicitly including Buzzfeed. I certainly think that Buzzfeed should contemplate the notion that the NRA’s policy of stopping and waiting to see what the hell is going on before commenting is apparently doing a wizzo job in NOT COMPLICATING RANDOM INNOCENT PEOPLE’S LIVES. Which is precisely what Buzzfeed did to at least one person last week.
Just saying, that’s all. Not rushing to comment usually means not rushing to correct later.