Pro-Trump accounts tried to frame left-wing activist for Las Vegas shooting

Phillip Butler
October 4, 2017

Facebook has fired up Safety Check for the Las Vegas area following the deadly Sunday night shooting that took the lives of more than 50 people and injured hundreds of others.

On Facebook's dedicated "Safety Check" page for the Las Vegas massacre-which says it lets users "connect with friends and family and find and give help after a crisis"-one of the top stories earlier today was from a Blogspot titled "Alt-Right News".

A rush to quicker judgment might be a hallmark of the 24-hour cable news cycle or online reporting in general, but marketers do not want their ads appearing next to fake or otherwise inflammatory news, as that lack of credibility can be infectious and extend to the brand. As of press time, Google has not responded to Ars' request to confirm the legitimacy of this reposted e-mail.

Google, which was running reports from 4chan in some of its search queries as a top story, explained to us what went wrong... and how it enabled some false information from one of the web's shadier corners to land as a top result. It described him as someone thought to be "a Democrat who liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org, and associated with the anti-Trump army". She was later located and identified as companion of the dead suspected gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock. But according to some background bullet points a Google spokesperson shared with a journalist from The Outline, the company admitted that "when the 4chan story broke, it triggered Top Stories which unfortunately led to this inaccurate result".

But the less-than-reliable news circulating in the aftermath of the Las Vegas attack didn't stop with Google. He is being called a "neo-liberal" and "alt-left".


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

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".

Twitter said it too was stepping up efforts to weed out false reports on the shooting. Several accounts pointed the finger at an "Islamic convert" who is actually a comedian beloved by the far right.

The false claim, however, quickly spread across the internet and was amplified by Google.

Other reports by Ligue1talk

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