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Fact Check-ABC News did not manipulate image of Texas elementary school shooter to make his facial features appear ‘more Caucasian’

The outlet ABC News did not tweet a manipulated image of the shooter who murdered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas to make the shooter’s facial features appear more Caucasian, despite claims made online. No such manipulated image was aired by the outlet.

The shooter of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, was identified by authorities as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos who died on the scene (here).

Several users of social media shared a screenshot claiming to show an image published by ABC News of Ramos alongside the image of Ramos that was published by numerous outlets including The Times, Sky News as well as ABC News (here), (here).

The image on the left shows an individual with the same hairline as the Texas shooter, but a lighter skin tone and different facial features (here).

Some users compared the images and falsely claimed that ABC News had manipulated the image of the shooter to make his facial features appear more Caucasian.

One user who shared the claim on Twitter said: “ABC News altered Salvador Ramos’s photo to appear more Caucasian. Real photo of the Uvalde Texas shooter (right) vs photo posted by @abcnews @GMA (left)” (here).

An individual shared the side-by-side images and commented: “ABC news altering photos of the shooter to make him look more white” (here).

Another user who posted the claim to Twitter said: “Did @ABC REALLY alter Salvador Ramos’ pic to look more Caucasian or is this fake?” (here).

ABC News confirmed to Reuters that the manipulated image was not aired by the outlet. Reuters found no such image in official social media posts or news reports published by ABC News reporting on the shooting.

ABC News and Good Morning America (GMA) Twitter accounts posted a tweet reporting the identity of the shooter on May 24, 2022 [00:19s] (here), (here).

Similarly, ABC News published a report that first aired on television pertaining to the identification of the shooter to YouTube on May 24, 2022 [03:19s] (bit.ly/3yZqav5).

“The image being shared on Twitter is clearly manipulated to alter the skin tone and facial appearance and then mislabelled in an attempt to accuse ABC News of wrongdoing,” Hany Farid, a Professor of Computer Science with a specialization in image analysis, digital forensics at the University of California, Berkely, told Reuters. “The original ABC News video (available on YouTube) clearly shows they did not manipulate the photo,” he added.

VERDICT

False. ABC News did not publish a manipulated image of the shooter who murdered at least 21 people, including 19 children, at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, to make the shooter appear more Caucasian. The digitally altered image was not published by the outlet.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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