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

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As law enforcement and news organizations raced to piece together what happened during the worst mass shooting in modern USA history Sunday night in Las Vegas, web denizens less wedded to the truth rushed in to provide details of their own - which quickly went viral.

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.

4chan's inclusion anywhere near Google News' "authoritative" list is a troubling one, since 4chan users have consistently and repeatedly used the site to promote false stories about newsworthy figures. Far-right website Gateway Pundit also published a story with the headline: "Last Vegas Shooter reportedly a Democrat who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army".


Among those falsely stated to be missing in Las Vegas were a German pro soccer player, a murder suspect from Mexico and a male porn star - whose pictures were apparently plucked from the internet. 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. "When the fresh 4chan story broke, it triggered Top Stories, which unfortunately led to this inaccurate result", the statement reads.

Despite increased efforts this year to tamp down the spread of fake news and hoaxes on their platforms, both Google and Facebook have long ways to go in solving the issue as the tragic shooting in Las Vegas over the weekend uncovered. "This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future". 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". But because that removal was "delayed", the company said, images of the incorrect story were captured and circulated online. The fake news was "algorithmically replaced by relevant results", Google said, "within hours". Several accounts pointed the finger at an "Islamic convert" who is actually a comedian beloved by the far right.

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