Facebook activates safety check after 50 killed in Las Vegas shooting

Posted October 04, 2017

For Facebook and Google, the failings with their Las Vegas shooting coverage underscore just how much work needs to be done in patching gaps in the pipeline and ensuring the truth is put first. Twitter coughed up false rumors and "missing" people who weren't connected to the slaughter.

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.

The stories claimed that the shooter was an "anti-Trump" Democrat and displayed pictures of a man who is not identified as a suspect.

Well known as a haven for racists, misogynists and conspiracy theorists, 4chan was also the source of 2008 fake news that Apple's then-CEO Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack - a falsity that nonetheless knocked $5 billion off of Apple's stock value in a single morning.

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Google also helped circulate the false information surfaced by 4chan. It's unclear what relationship Geary Danley has with Marilou Danley, and he did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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".

"Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly serving an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries", the company said in a statement. "Within hours, 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", a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

People can check in to let Facebook friends now they are in Las Vegas and that they are safe.

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False news that erroneously named a suspect in the deadly Las Vegas mass shooting on Sunday spread on Google and Facebook before the services removed the posts in question, the two companies acknowledged Monday.

Among the outlets promoted by Facebook were The Gateway Pundit; a blog called Alt Right News; and several websites of questionable credibility.

Facebook said the offending post was spotted by its global security operations centre but that "its removal was delayed by a few minutes".

Twitter said it too was stepping up efforts to weed out false reports on the shooting.

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