It appears that just like Sandy Hook and the 9/11 attacks, conspiracy theorists and online pranksters are jumping on the Boston Marathon Bombings.
We detail the emerging stories and known facts as they become clear. This page is likely to be updated.
A Facebook Page too Early?
A photograph of a page titled “Thoughts Go out To All Involved In The Boston Explosions” is circulating Facebook with the implication that because it “Joined Facebook” on Saturday (two days before the bombings) that it shows that either the Page was set up by someone involved in the attack or that it proves that the bombing was pre-orchestrated by the Government or a “false flag” event.
Conspiracy theorists used this phenomena with Facebook to assert that the Sandy Hook shooting was staged as well. However the reason behind this Facebook Page “Join” date is simple – Facebook Pages with under 200 fans can change their name, thus it is likely that the page (with only 18 fans) was created under a different name and promptly changed after the bombings took place. Name changes do not affect the “Joined on” date of the Page which remains the same.
Page name changes also do not affect the “username” of the Page which remains the same and appears in the URL address of the Page. However the URL of the Page was conveniently missing from the image. The Page now seems to have been removed.
UPDATE: However many Pages with the same name have now appeared on Facebook capitalizing on the hoax, with various creation dates going back as far as December 2011. Note that a Page creation date (“Joined Facebook”) and a “Founded/Born on” date are not the same – a “Founded/Born on” date can be set to anything.
Images are circulating that appear to show someone walking on the rooftop of a nearby building as one of the explosions is happening. However the circulation of this image is beyond pointless. What the image shows could be just about anything, from a person to a building fixture.
The image itself appears genuine. Taken by Dan Lampariello – it appears on several news websites – and versions without the red circle also show the dark figure. However there is absolutely no evidence or any logical reasoning that would suggest this person (if it is indeed a person) had anything to do with the bombings. It is just a photo of what appears to be a person on a roof, of which there are endless more likely explanations than it being someone involved with the bombing. It is likely that viewers are sharing the photo because of the mysterious, shadowy appearance of the photo which ultimately doesn’t mean anything at all.
UPDATE: Enhanced version of the image suggest it is a person, who got up from patio seating just to the left of him, likely in response to the first explosion.
Man Almost Asked Girlfriend to Marry Him
Photos of a man lying next to a victim assert the photo depicts a man who was about to ask his girlfriend to marry him. However this caption is likely to be false, and the photo is only used to accumulate Likes and Shares on Facebook.
Dawn Hochsprung at Boston?
The above photo is circulating with the implication that deceased Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung was at Boston being interviewed by media, posing as marathon runner called Donna, thus proving she is a crisis actor. Of course this is beyond ludicrous.
You can easily determine that the photo on either side is the exact same photo, proving that she is not being interviewed at all. This is the result of either an unfortunate media mix up or a digitally manipulated image.
At this stage the most likely explanation of the reason why Dawn Hochsprung’s face appears is because a FOX network affiliate mixed up the images, possibly because they were talking to the current Sandy Hook Principal who is called Donna Page who according to reports was at the Boston Marathon to support runners honoring the Sandy Hook victims. Another possibility is that it was Donna Bruce being interviewed as she is reported to have been giving interviews shortly after the attacks.
Others have suggested that since the content inside the picture frame seems to have been digitally removed (in the right hand photo) that the image may have been manipulated.
The absurd assertion that the photo appearing of Dawn Hochsprung somehow implies in some way that this was an “inside job” or conspiracy is as baseless as it is offensive.
Controlled Explosions/Terror Drills
Rumours circulating that assert the police were conducting controlled explosions before the bombs went off, and theorists are using that assertion to claim the police were conducting terror drills. However this rumour began because of a tweet from the Boston Globe twitter feed that appeared to some as if it was published before the bombs went off, when in reality it was published around an hour after.
Additionally some wrongly claimed the Boston Globe was referring to the JFK Library – about a mile away – when in fact it was referring to the Boston Public Library, right next to where the bombs exploded. This was further confused after an unrelated fire broke out at the JFK Library which the Boston Globe also mentioned (referring to the Library as the JFK Library.)
8 year old identified?
An image is circulating of an 8 year old girl with the assertion this was the 8 year old reported to have died. However early reports from CNN claim the 8 year old victim was male. This image seems to have been taken from a May 2012 run called the Joe Cassella 5K, thus negating the possibility the runner had anything to do with Sandy Hook as claimed in many messages attributed to the image. This is not a picture of a victim.
Dog Sniffers/Terror Drills
News reports that assert sniffer dogs were used at the starting line and finishing line are circulating, and seem to be based on the accounts of Ali Stevenson who was at the event. Mr. Stevenson reported that he saw sniffer dogs at both the start and finish lines and reported hearing announcements that it was “just a training exercise”. Mr. Stevenson also speculated that this could have meant a threat was called in.
There is little reason to doubt Mr. Stevenson’s account, though we’re currently unaware of any other collaborative eyewitnesses at present. It is entirely possible that sniffer dogs were present, and this could have been an exercise, the result of someone calling in a threat and the police not wanting to worry spectators, or it could even have been a security measure employed for any number of reasons.
However, worth noting is that at this point this is all just speculation, and does not prove or imply anything.
Before circulating speculation and rumour, it perhaps would be prudent to wait for more information and facts to come to light. Advice which many well known conspiracy theorists seem to have ignored.
If you think you may be in possession of information that it actually helpful to any investigation then you should contact the police with it. Circulating hearsay and nonsense helps nobody and is likely to be interpreted as disrespectful to the victims of the attack.
If you’d like to help, click this link for more information.