Google's Top Stories Promoted Misinformation About The Las Vegas Shooting From 4Chan

How far-right trolls named the wrong man as the Las Vegas shooter

As law enforcement and news organizations raced to piece together what happened during the worst mass shooting in modern USA history Sunday night in Las Vegas, web denizens less wedded to the truth rushed in to provide details of their own - which quickly went viral.

A rush to quicker judgment might be a hallmark of the 24-hour cable news cycle or online reporting in general, but marketers do not want their ads appearing next to fake or otherwise inflammatory news, as that lack of credibility can be infectious and extend to the brand.

In a statement, a Google spokesperson conceded that the search engine giant's algorithm was "briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website" for what it said was a "small number of queries". 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". 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 frightful attack.

Facebook, Google and Twitter, said they were working on fixes after learning of fake news ending up in feeds and searches following the shooting that killed 59 and injured over 500 people.

The incident highlights yet again how news and social-media algorithms created to help surface the best information can fall short in the hours after a major incident, when few factual details are readily available because authorities have yet to confirm or release them.




"This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future", Google said.

"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them". He is being called a "neo-liberal" and "alt-left".

There were also several social media users who spread fake "missing friends" photos on Twitter, including the fake Twitter account Jack Sins, who shared a photo of a man claiming to be his missing father. Conservative "media personality" Wayne Root tweeted that the killings were a "coordinated Muslim terror attack", according to Buzzfeed.

The false claim, however, quickly spread across the internet and was amplified by Google.

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