Why Some People on Twitter Are Spelling Gabby Petito’s Name Wrong on Purpose
Gabby Petito's name has been trending on social media for days as users tried to help gather information about her missing persons case, and then mourned after the FBI found a body in Wyoming that reportedly matched her description.
She remains a trending topic on Twitter. However, today (Sept. 21) many users noticed that her last name has been misspelled as "Pepito" in the latest trending hashtag, #GabbyPepito. It also appears that her partner Brian Laundrie, who was named a person of interest in the case and is currently missing, also had his last name misspelled as "Laudrie" in a trending hashtag.
Some Twitter users even took to the app to tweet out corrections for Petito's last name out of respect. "People, these hashtags are wrong," one concerned user tweeted.
Check out some of the concerned tweets below.
So, what gives? As it turns out, there may be a purposeful reason for the misspellings.
Other accounts rushed to explain that the names are being misspelled on purpose to counteract Twitter's trending algorithm. "Just sharing since i also only recently found out," someone explained. "It's because twitters algorithm knocks it off trending after a few days, so they have to mix the spelling up to keep it trending. I wish we all did a better job of explaining this though."
Here are a few people explaining why #GabbyPepito is apparently now trending instead of #GabbyPetito.
It's worth noting that, while some may be consciously choosing to misspell her name to keep Petito trending, others are likely accidentally misspelling it and truly believe that is her last name.
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 while she was supposed to be in the middle of a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. Her last communication with her family was in late August; Laundrie returned home to his parent's house in North Port, Fla. without Petito Sept.1.
Laundrie's parents reported him missing Sept. 17 after he allegedly never returned from a hike in Carlton Reserve several days prior.
An ongoing search for him was postponed yesterday (Sept. 20) as FBI searched his parent's home. According to CBS, the search for him has since resumed.
TMZ reported that someone located 450-500 miles away from Laundrie's home caught footage of a man who seems to match his description on a trail camera. If verified, this will likely widen the search.
An autopsy of the body believed to be Petito was scheduled for today (Sept. 21). CBS reported that we are still waiting for results, which could confirm the cause and time of death as well as if the body belongs to Petito.
Although it has not been confirmed, the New York Post noted that a stone cross memorial was placed at the spot where the body was reportedly discovered.