Gateway Pundit IDs Wrong Las Vegas Shooter, Hits Delete

Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media giants have, for almost a year, resisted taking responsibility for the proliferation of false information online, in part, experts have speculated, to dodge regulation and government oversight. Numerous links on the first page of results included news sites that cited 4chan's "research" as potential evidence about Danley being the shooter and YouTube videos and other message boards around the web discussing him.

There were also several social media users who spread fake "missing friends" photos on Twitter, including the fake Twitter account Jack Sins, who shared a photo of a man claiming to be his missing father. Alt-Right News on October 2 theorized that the actual shooter, Paddock, was probably a "left-wing nutjob" associated with a woman who "may or may not be a Muslim".

In its "Top Stories" section, a space that features breaking stories on search queries and is located at the top of the page, Google's first recommended link was to one of the 4chan boards in which the wrong person was blamed for the massacre.

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"Google saying "when the fresh 4chan story broke" makes me wonder if Google even....knows what 4chan is?" Many far-right users said the incorrect shooter had followed Democratic pages on social media.

The right-wing news site Gateway Pundit also picked up these rumors as fact in a now-deleted article. If you mark yourself as safe, the system will automatically add a post to your News Feed with that message, so anyone checking on you can see quickly that you're okay.

How did Danley get brought into the Las Vegas stories? The headline, still visible in search results, and remaining on the first page of results for Danley when I ran my 9 a.m. search, read, "Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, and Associated with anti-Trump Army".

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The search for Danley began after the Las Vegas police identified a woman named Marilou Danley as a person of interest and possible traveling companion of the real shooter, though law enforcement later noted they did not believe she was involved with the shooting. However, their removal was delayed, allowing them to be screen captured and circulated online. "It's 1000% antifa/extreme organized leftism", another on 4chan said, according to BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick.

"Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our search results for a small number of queries", a Google spokeswoman wrote in an emailed statement. "Within hours, the 4chan story was algorithmically replaced by relevant results".

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