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YouTube Removes Parkland-Shooting Conspiracy Video Accusing Teen Survivor of Being Actor

A video that briefly became YouTube’s No. 1 trending video Wednesday — suggesting that one of the high-school students who survived last week’s mass shooting in Florida was an actor hired by gun-control advocates — was removed by the video platform.

“This video has been removed for violating YouTube’s policy on harassment and bullying,” a message says at the link where the video had been posted.

Last Wednesday’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 dead.

In recent days, fringe right-wing conspiracy theorists have been putting forward the notion that David Hogg, one of the students at the school who has been speaking out for gun control, is an actor.

The title of the video in question, which YouTube pulled down at about 11 a.m. ET on Wednesday, was “DAVID HOGG THE ACTOR….” The clip showed footage of a 2017 news report by CBS’s L.A. affiliate, KCBS (pictured above), in which Hogg was interviewed about a video he took about a confrontation between a lifeguard and bodysurfer in Redondo Beach. (A CBS follow-up story this week said the Florida teen had been in L.A. visiting friends and family when the station interviewed him last summer.)

YouTube said the video slipped through the cracks because the source material was from a credible news organization.

In a statement, a YouTube rep said, “This video should never have appeared in Trending. Because the video contained footage from an authoritative news source, our system misclassified it. As soon as we became aware of the video, we removed it from Trending and from YouTube for violating our policies. We are working to improve our systems moving forward.”

Other videos uploaded to YouTube by the same user who posted the previously trending video — including one titled “David Hogg Can’t Remember His Lines When Interviewed for Florida school shooting” — have also been removed.

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