Sunday 22 September 2019

Facebook and Google admit they failed to stop fake news about Las Vegas massacre

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Stock photo
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Facebook and Google have admitted they failed to stop fake news about the Las Vegas massacre from circulating through their websites.

In the immediate aftermath of the murder spree that claimed at least 59 lives, Facebook and Google hosted false news stories alleging the shooter was a Democrat who opposed Donald Trump. And before authorities identified Stephen Paddock as the shooting suspect, stories appeared that falsely accused Geary Danley as the gunman.

The inaccurate reports spread rapidly and appeared on mainstream websites. Google said it would take measures to prevent the propagation of fake news in the future.

"Unfortunately, we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our search results for a small number of queries," a Google spokesperson said. "Within hours, the 4chan story was algorithmically replaced by relevant results."

Meanwhile, Facebook told the Irish Independent it "deeply regretted" any confusion caused. "Our global security operations centre identified false news in the crisis response hub yesterday morning and removed them," said a spokesperson. "However, their removal was delayed."

Irish Independent

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