Google, Facebook and Twitter put out fake news on Las Vegas massacre

04 October, 2017, 00:25 | Author: Delbert Rhodes
  • Facebook activates safety check after 50 killed in Las Vegas shooting

USA online giants acknowledged Tuesday they failed to prevent rumors and misinformation from being circulated during and after the deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Facebook admitted Monday that its system automatically promoted stories that falsely identified the shooter in the Las Vegas massacre.

4chan's users quickly turned their attention to Geary Danley-the apparent the husband of Marilou, according to an archived version of a Facebook page belonging to a user named Geary Danley-though the name was not directly mentioned by law enforcement.

The incorrect shooter's name, which Ars Technica will not repost to reduce any further robo-aggregated hits, began appearing on 4chan's "pol" board, which is infamous for pushing intentionally inflammatory content. Far-right website Gateway Pundit also published a story with the headline: "Last Vegas Shooter reportedly a Democrat who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army". A profile of Danley put together on Everipedia, a Wikipedia-style site with much looser guidelines and moderation.

Also, apparently Google is putting 4chan threads in their top story unit now?

The search results below the top stories did little to help clarify the situation. There are multiple reports that Danley accompanied the assailant - ID'd as Stephen Paddock by local authorities - and that she would likely have insights into what spawned such a awful attack.

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"Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries", a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google said that 15 percent of searches that Google sees every day are new and that before the 4chan story broke there weren't many stories around the name "Geary Danley". "This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future".

"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them".

"However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online", Facebook said.

But the less-than-reliable news circulating in the aftermath of the Las Vegas attack didn't stop with Google.

"Despite months of assurances to the contrary, the internet's two largest media platforms have yet to adequately protect their systems from enabling the viral spread of misinformation", says Forbes.

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