Las Vegas shooting exposes tenacity of fake news on Google and Facebook

Facebook activates safety check after 50 killed in Las Vegas shooting

At least six threads on 4Chan wrongly named democrat Geary Danley as the shooter and Google showed them in people's search results. The site, which earned White House credentials under Trump, later deleted the story and apologised for the error.

For far-right pages like pol, incorrectly identifying Danley as the shooter was politically convenient.

Facebook's "trending topic" page also directed users towards stories by Russian propaganda websites, which cited religious affiliation as the motive behind the shooting.

Monday's news follows more than a year of questions about how social-media platforms like Facebook handle propagation of posts either through advertising or automatic, algorithmically selected links.

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". "However, their removal was delayed, allowing them to be screen captured and circulated online". The 4chan result only appeared if users entered the erroneous name as a query, Google said.

"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. "We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen", the Facebook representative told CNN.




Pro-Trump accounts spent hours trying to frame left-wing activist Geary Danley for the shootings in Las Vegas, saying he was a "liberal targeting Trump supporters".

The social network said links from Web sites such as "The Gateway Pundit" and others were posted and spread across their site Sunday night.

Meanwhile, Facebook's "Security Check" page - that lets people involved with disasters and accidents post messages for friends and loved ones - published a blog post from "Alt-Right News" that said "the killer may have been a Trump-hating American television host Rachel Maddow fan" in an apparent reference to the misidentified Danley's Facebook page.

A Twitter spokeswoman said: "We are reviewing and removing content that violates our rules - both proactively and through reports".

Executives from all three firms have been invited to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee at an open hearing on 1 November to examine how foreign actors may have used their sites to influence the election.

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