'How does it feel to be part of a hoax?' Conspiracy theorists are targeting a growing numbers of gun crime VICTIMS online claiming they are faking it

  • Gun violence victims and family members have been accused of being part of a hoax
  • Mike Cronk was hailed a hero after surviving the Las Vegas Massacre and saving a friend's life
  • Dozens of YouTube videos began circulating calling Cronk an 'actor'
  • Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012, had multiple threats directed at him
  • In 2014, Pozner founded the Honr network, an organization dedicated to holding conspiracy theorists accountable
  • They are calling on companies such as YouTube and Google to more carefully monitor this type of content to prevent being harassed.

A growing number of gun victims are becoming targeted online by conspiracy theorists claiming their stories are fake.

After Mike Cronk survived the Las Vegas massacre, the worst mass shooting in modern US history, he was approached by a TV reporter.?

Dirty and bloody, having just used his shirt to plug a friend's bullet wound, he recounted a young man he did not know had just died in his arms.

Many hailed him a hero, but dozens of?YouTube videos began circulating calling him an 'actor' and 'part of a hoax'.?

A growing number of gun victims are becoming targeted online by conspiracy theorists claiming their stories are fake including Mike Cronk (pictured) who survived the October Las Vegas massacre

A growing number of gun victims are becoming targeted online by conspiracy theorists claiming their stories are fake including Mike Cronk (pictured) who survived the October Las Vegas massacre

By many he was hailed a hero, but dozens of YouTube videos began circulating calling Cronk (pictured) an 'actor' and 'part of a hoax'

By many he was hailed a hero, but dozens of YouTube videos began circulating calling Cronk (pictured) an 'actor' and 'part of a hoax'

Popular videos, viewed thousands of times, claimed he and his wounded friend were performers and that the Mandalay Bay tragedy that killed 58 people never happened

Popular videos, viewed thousands of times, claimed he and his wounded friend were performers and that the Mandalay Bay tragedy that killed 58 people never happened

Popular videos, viewed thousands of times, claimed he and his wounded friend were performers and that the Mandalay Bay tragedy that killed 58 people never happened.?

'It's awful that we have to go through what we did and then you have a whole new level of attacks on you and who you are,' Cronk, a retired teacher, told The Guardian. 'I don't want negative stuff associated with my name, but how do we stop that?'

Cronk is just one of several people who have been called am 'actor' or 'faker'. Also targeted are the families of shooting victims.

Alison Parker (left) was a television reporter who was dead while reporting live in August 2015 by a disgruntled former colleague

Alison Parker (left) was a television reporter who was dead while reporting live in August 2015 by a disgruntled former colleague

Not long afterwards, conspiracy theorists began targeting the YouTube page of her father, Andy Parker (pictured), claiming that he was an actor hired to be portray?a grieving father

Not long afterwards, conspiracy theorists began targeting the YouTube page of her father, Andy Parker (pictured), claiming that he was an actor hired to be portray?a grieving father

Alison Parker was a television reporter who was dead while reporting live in August 2015 by a disgruntled former colleague.

Not long afterwards, conspiracy theorists began targeting the YouTube page of her father, Andy Parker. Among his videos were old commercials in which he appeared as a young actor in New York.

Strangers quickly seized on that detail to prove that his daughters' shooting was a hoax and that?Andy Parker had supposedly been hired to portray a grieving father.

Google searches for the foundation the Parkers had set up to honor their daughter's memory yielded videos claiming the organization was a hoax for Andy to make money.?

'I don't care what they say about me,' Andy said, 'but leave the foundation alone. Leave my daughter alone'.?

When Langdon (pictured) took down her viral video, several theorists claimed it was proof that the FBI was trying to silence her and cover up the truth

When Langdon (pictured) took down her viral video, several theorists claimed it was proof that the FBI was trying to silence her and cover up the truth

Colleen Seifert, a University of Michigan psychology professor, said people may be drawn to trust conspiracy theory videos simply because the tragedies were so implausible and frightening to them.

'The idea that you could be innocently going to a concert and could be shot – you don't want to believe that's true. You're protecting your own feeling of security and safety.'

Cori Langdon, a Las Vegas taxi driver who picked up survivors of the October massacre, became a more recent targeting for conspiracy theorists.

After sharing a video from the scene, her footage was recirculated and used as 'proof' several debunked claims, including the rumor that there was a second shooter.

When Langdon took down her viral video, several theorists claimed it was proof that the FBI was trying to silence her and cover up the truth?

Langdon said she learned that the hoaxers were closer to home when a mutual friend was duped by the fake news that she was murdered: 'It made me realize, even in my own circle of friends and people I work with, there are people with some crazy imaginations.'

Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah (pictured together), was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012, had multiple threats directed at him calling the shooting a hoax

Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah (pictured together), was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012, had multiple threats directed at him calling the shooting a hoax

In 2014, Pozner, whose child was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, founded the Honr network, an organization dedicated to holding conspiracy theorists accountable. Hundreds of volunteers now help monitor the offensive content online

In 2014, Pozner, whose child was killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, founded the Honr network, an organization dedicated to holding conspiracy theorists accountable. Hundreds of volunteers now help monitor the offensive content online

Lenny Pozner, whose six-year-old son, Noah, was killed in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012, had multiple threats directed at him.

Not long after the shooting, families were harassed by hoaxers insisting that they stop their fake grieving. On photos that Pozner posted of Noah online, comments left by hoaxers read: ?'Fake kid', 'Didn't die', 'Fucking liar'.?

In 2014, Pozner founded the Honr network, an organization dedicated to holding conspiracy theorists accountable. Hundreds of volunteers now help monitor the offensive content online.

Andy, the father of the slain television reporter, contacted Honr, which soon began began flagging the Alison Parker hoax videos. But the conversation only reinforced Andy's frustration with Google.

'I am so grateful to these folks that are doing this but the problem is, to me, we shouldn't have to be doing this piecemeal,' Parker said.?

'It's like trying to kill roaches with a fly swatter. You kill a couple and a bunch of them come back. What we're doing is demanding that they be responsible corporate citizens.

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