Right-wing websites ID Las Vegas shooter as Geary Danley, the wrong guy
04 October, 2017, 00:28 | Author: Lorena Waters
More than 50 people died in the shooting and at least 400 people have been injured in the shooting, according to Las Vegas police.
Forbes reports a Facebook "safety check" feature, activated for those in the area to identify themselves as safe for their friends and family, promoted stories from right-wing news sites Gateway Pundit and Blogspot, which also falsely identified the shooter.
For far-right pages like pol, incorrectly identifying Danley as the shooter was politically convenient. A profile of Danley put together on Everipedia, a Wikipedia-style site with much looser guidelines and moderation.
The search results below the top stories did little to help clarify the situation.
The social network said links from Web sites such as "The Gateway Pundit" and others were posted and spread across their site Sunday night. Conservative writer Joe Hoft pounced, publishing and then retracting an article about the misidentified man. Police later identified a different person, Stephen Paddock, as the shooter.
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. "This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future", Google was quoted as saying in the report.
But the less-than-reliable news circulating in the aftermath of the Las Vegas attack didn't stop with Google.
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. "However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online", the firm told Fast Company.
In a statement, Facebook said, "We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused".
"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. Several accounts pointed the finger at an "Islamic convert" who is actually a comedian beloved by the far right.
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