Web giants allowed fake news to flow on Las Vegas shooting

Google algorithm fail puts 4chan's wrongly named Las Vegas gunman on top of search

The death toll has now risen to 59 with over 500 injured after suspected lone gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire from a hotel room window.

Some rumors identified the wrong person as the shooter, others named a search for a female person of interest described as a "Trump-hating Rachel Maddow fan", referring to an MSNBC host who is a fierce critic of President Donald Trump. Hopefully by this morning, less fake news will be available, but we can't depend on algorithms to do that.

A search for "Gear Danley" displayed a direct link to 4chan in the search engine's "Top Stories" section-the carousel of stories that often appear near the top of the page to help surface information relevant to trending topics and breaking news.

"Google saying "when the fresh 4chan story broke" makes me wonder if Google even....knows what 4chan is?"

Google did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

Google later acknowledged that it had been briefly surfacing an inaccurate "4chan" website in its Search results for a small number of queries.

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The incident highlights yet again how news and social-media algorithms created to help surface the best information can fall short in the hours after a major incident, when few factual details are readily available because authorities have yet to confirm or release them.

The 4chan search result was only appearing for queries that included the name [geary danley] but did not appear for general queries related to the shooting, according to a spokesperson.

In the immediate aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting, people turned to Facebook and Google, looking for news about what happened and, in some cases, updates about their friends and loved ones in the area.

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.

Facebook said its security staff had seen the post and removed it. "However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online".

Among those falsely stated to be missing in Las Vegas were a German pro soccer player, a murder suspect from Mexico and a male porn star - whose pictures were apparently plucked from the internet.

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