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

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

The Gateway Pundit said the attacker was reportedly an anti-Trump Democrat, a lover of liberal TV host Rachel Maddow, and a "far-left loon".

But amid the chaos that erupted at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, people turning to social media for answers saw another name popping up on their feeds: Geary Danley.

Google, which was running reports from 4chan in some of its search queries as a top story, explained to us what went wrong... and how it enabled some false information from one of the web's shadier corners to land as a top result. As Buzzfeed's Ryan Broderick pointed out, dozens of accounts falsely identified comedian Sam Hyde as the suspected shooter, claiming he was "32-year-old Islamic convert Samir Al-Hajeed".

In the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting at a concert in Las Vegas Sunday, people desperate for information about loved ones turned to Google to find out what was happening, only to see their searches yield fake news results, courtesy of 4Chan.

The promotion of false stories came after months of growing criticism for the platforms, as trolls and malicious foreign operatives have used the platforms to quickly spread misinformation for political purposes. That includes not just fake news but screenshots of fake news that's been debunked, and that's already been circulated to an untold number of people.

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".

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A 4chan message board about the Las Vegas shooting rocketed to the top of Google's Top Stories, a tool meant to draw a clearer distinction between that product and Google News, which is vetted by humans.

On Monday, Facebook said it had done so and also would hire an additional 1,000 workers to police ads on its site.

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

Google also put the Politically Incorrect 4chan thread in its top story unit Monday morning. "We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen", the Facebook representative told CNN.

Tech companies have, instead, announced moves to cut the flow of advertising dollars to fake-news websites, partnered with journalists and professional fact-checkers to check on trending stories and topics and granted greater services meant to help users discern what information is true and what is not.

Google, for its part, doesn't seem to understand how bad some "breaking stories" and "content" are in the context of news, especially around a terrorist attack.

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