Google Admits to Posting Fake Vegas Shooter News
Leave it to the Internet to somehow make a horrible story even worse. One of the major downsides of information traveling so quickly these days is how quickly FALSE information travels. Just look at the Tom Petty situation yesterday. It was being reported everywhere that he had passed away when technically he hadn’t.
This, however, is about as bad as it gets. On the heals of the worst mass shooting in United States history, a ‘story’ on 4chan burst onto the scene, incorrectly identifying the shooter. How does something like this happen? Well, according to Google:
Google News’ statement claims that these false reports landed on the service’s “Top Stories” feed due to a burst of activity for a name that had never received many search attempts. “When the fresh 4chan story broke, it triggered Top Stories, which unfortunately led to this inaccurate result,” the statement reads.
So, basically, the computers and algorithms screwed up because this one name suddenly had a ton of searches. I guess we can take a sigh of relief, at least for now that the singularity isn’t going to happen tomorrow. But this is still very disturbing. According to Ars Technica:
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 falsestories about newsworthy figures. As of press time, Google has not responded to Ars’ request to confirm the legitimacy of this reposted e-mail.
Facebook also had issues having this same misinformation make its way to its “Crisis Response” page. They did tell a CNN reporter that they’re looking into how to prevent this from happening again.