Right-wing websites ID Las Vegas shooter as Geary Danley, the wrong guy

Facebook activates safety check after 50 killed in Las Vegas shooting

More than 50 people died in the shooting and at least 400 people have been injured in the shooting, according to Las Vegas police. The company's "Safety Check" page is often cited as a useful place for those potentially affected by terrorist attack's like Sunday's to mark themselves as safe for family and friends.

Facebook's Trending Topics section for the shooting includes a featured article and a mix of public posts generated by an algorithm. Police have since correctly identified Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old from Mesquite, Nevada, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after the incident, as the shooter.

If the bloody massacre in Las Vegas was a test of the ability of Google, Facebook and Twitter to stop fake news, all three failed miserably.

Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc. displayed false information in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting, again raising concerns over people's ability to manipulate the heavily trafficked platforms for social media and news.

While the Gateway Pundit removed the story, the site's White House correspondent Lucian Wintrich criticized and mocked reporters who inquired about how the site published the piece. Google hired the founder of 4chan, Christopher Poole, in 2016, though there's no indication that he's involved with the search results that promoted 4chan.

"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them", a Facebook spokesman said in a statement.

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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.

BuzzFeed News compiled a list Monday morning of viral tweets about supposed missing individuals, some of which were obviously fake but circulated nonetheless.

Internet rumors and hoaxes have become a fixture of high-profile tragedies and disasters, but by allowing them to stand alongside legitimate news stories, Facebook and Google granted them extra prominence and implicit credibility.

"Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries", said a Google spokesperson.

Google, for its part, didn't do much better than Facebook. During life-threatening events, Safety Check lets people announce that they're OK and also aggregates news and even points to fundraisers.

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