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. Instead of presenting only legitimate reporting to users desperate to find out the fate of people in Las Vegas, Facebook's automated system included a blog post from "Alt-Right News", Fast Company reported.
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. It's unclear what relationship Geary Danley has with Marilou Danley, and he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The misidentification "spread rapidly from dark corners of the internet to mainstream platforms in the latest example of fake news polluting social media amid a breaking news story", reports The Guardian. As a (since-deleted) Gateway Pundit article stated, Danley is "Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army" based on information gleaned from his Facebook page.
Google, in a statement to news outlets, acknowledged that it had been "briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries". Numerous links on the first page of results included news sites that cited 4chan's "research" as potential evidence about Danley being the shooter and YouTube videos and other message boards around the web discussing him.
In Las Vegas, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old gambler and retired accountant, was identified as the shooter who fired on a huge crowd at an outdoor country music concert before killing himself.
"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them", a Facebook spokesperson told CNN.
"The 4chan story was algorithmically replaced by relevant results".
"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. "However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online".
The rampant dissemination of misinformation comes as Facebook, Google and Twitter face intense scrutiny over fake news on their websites with each rolling out measures to deal with the issue. Several accounts pointed the finger at an "Islamic convert" who is actually a comedian beloved by the far right.