Facebook, Google Still Struggling with Fake News, Las Vegas Shooting Exposes

Published Date : Oct 03, 2017

Google and Facebook have once again been caught in the blame of spreading fake news. This time it is about a person who was erroneously named as a suspect in stories related to the Las Vegas mass shooting that took place Sunday. However, the fake posts have now been brought down by the services while acknowledging their error on Monday. The erroneous posts had incorrectly recognized the shooter as a seemingly uninvolved individual. Such posts had been circulated by Facebook users and highlighted on the “Top Stories” Google section.

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According to Las Vegas police, it was Mesquite, Nevada’s Stephen Craig Paddock who wounded an over 500 concertgoers and killed nearly 59 while firing down from the Mandalay Bay casino hotel’s 32nd floor. As the authorities closed, Paddock killed himself. This has been supposed to be one of the deadliest mass shooting attacks in the modern U.S history. However, The Gateway Pundit, the pro-Trump political website, had named a different individual as the shooter, making reference to a Facebook page which claimed the person as “a Democrat who liked Rachel Maddow” of MSNBC and “a far left loon.” Similarly, the 4chan.org forum yelled the supposed findings about the misidentified individual through posters.

Google has said that the incorrect posts appeared on 4chan for many hours until the service replaced them with more relevant results through its search algorithm. While the listing had not appeared on Google News, as per the service, the 4chan result had only appeared once users searched for the erroneous name as their query. Facebook’s security team has brought down Gateway Pundit results and similar posts, some within a few minutes. However, since the removal had been delayed, images on incorrect stories had been captured and circulated over the internet. Nevertheless, the social network has said it has been working on the issue that permitted this to take place and deeply regrets the confusion caused.