The brother of the suspected Las Vegas shooter, Stephen Paddock, says he’s in total disbelief. Eric Paddock says he last talked to his brother months ago via text and saw no warning signs that he would commit mass violence.
SAN FRANCISCO — False information about the Las Vegas mass shooting from 4chan was a top story on Google before it was debunked.
Links to the 4chan website falsely identified the shooter as Geary Danley, calling him a leftist and Democratic supporter. The misinformation gained traction after Internet sleuths scoured social media to identify the gunman faster than police, and the erroneous report appeared at the top of Google results for searches on Danley. BuzzFeed’s Ryan Broderick spotted the link.
One conservative writer, Joe Hoft, published and then retracted an article about Danley: “Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with Anti-Trump Army.”
Police later identified Stephen Paddock as the culprit in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history that killed at least 58, wounding 515 more.
The episode marked yet another illustration of how quickly misinformation can spread during major breaking news events on Twitter, Reddit, 4chan — an anonymous online message board — and other Internet services when few official details have been released by authorities.
wwwBut in this case, Google amplified the false information as millions searched for information about the gunman in the hours after the attack.
Google says the 4chan search result appeared for queries that included Danley’s name but did not appear for…