After losing his son in the Sandy Hook shooting, Leonard Pozner has become a prominent activist in stopping the spread of disinformation and conspiracies online.
Five years ago, Leonard Pozner lost his son Noah in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Within days, conspiracy theorists—including a Florida Atlantic University professor—were questioning whether the massacre even happened.
As detailed by New York Magazine and other media outlets, these self-styled “truthers” (though a better term is probably “hoaxers”) hold that some powerful force—the Illuminati, globalists, the New World Order, even the Obamas—staged the shooting with the cooperation of media, government and city residents in order to take away guns and liberty. The slain children were either put into witness protection or never existed, according to their claims. This left Pozner and his fellow Newtown parents and city officials fielding inquiries about whether their kids ever lived at all.
Since then, Pozner has founded the HONR Network, a nonprofit dedicated to stopping hoaxers’ attempts to spread disinformation online after tragedies, like what happened immediately after this week’s Las Vegas shooting on both YouTube and Twitter. Thrive Global contacted Pozner over email to learn more about how Honr does what it does, whether online hoaxing is picking up or slowing down and what it would take to stamp out this particularly disdainful corner of Internet culture for good.