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The scariest part of Facebook's safety check in a mass shooting

The scariest part of Facebook's safety check in a mass shooting”

That article's URL was still the top result for Danley's name on Google in the early hours of Monday morning. Safety Check is part of Facebook's Crisis Response feature that also includes information about the event and ways the public can help. 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.

The promotion of false stories came after months of growing criticism for the platforms, as trolls and malicious foreign operatives have used the platforms to quickly spread misinformation for political purposes. 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".

While law enforcement later went on to identify the gunman at Stephen Paddock, 4chan members had mistakenly claimed it was actually Geary Daniel that was responsible. A search for "Geary Danley" places two 4chan threads right at the top, that misidentify him as the Las Vegas shooting suspect.

The Gateway Pundit, a far-right website, published a story declaring that the person 4chan had named was the culprit.

"Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries", Google said in a statement. In the Everipedia post, which was shared more than 4,000 times on Facebook, Danley was identified as "a Democrat and is registered to vote in Washoe County, Nevada" who liked several anti-Trump pages on Facebook. Google searches for the phrase "Geary Danley" returned a link to a 4chan thread labeling the man a risky leftist - a link that sat untouched for hours until the platform's algorithm eventually bumped it.

A shooter opened fire October 1 on a music festival in Las Vegas, Nevada, killing at least 58 people, and injuring hundreds more. 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. "However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online", the firm told Fast Company. "This should not have appeared for any queries, and we'll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future". The story said that Danley, "reportedly the murderer of at least 20 concertgoers in Las Vegas", was "a far-left loon".



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