Google, Facebook Tackle Misinformation in Wake of Las Vegas Shooting

Google algorithm fail puts 4chan's wrongly named Las Vegas gunman on top of search

Google, in a statement to news outlets, acknowledged that it had been "briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries".

"We use a number of signals to determine the ranking of results-this includes both the authoritativeness of a site as well as how fresh it is", the statement continues.

"This should not have appeared for any queries", a Google spokesperson said, adding that the company would aim to prevent it from happening again.

A rush to quicker judgment might be a hallmark of the 24-hour cable news cycle or online reporting in general, but marketers do not want their ads appearing next to fake or otherwise inflammatory news, as that lack of credibility can be infectious and extend to the brand.

Meanwhile, Facebook's "Safety Check" page, which is created to help people near an emergency inform their loved ones that they're safe, also promoted several dubious stories from right-wing news sites Gateway Pundit and Blogspot that misidentified the suspect and his motives.

After initiating a "Safety Check" for Las Vegas, which provides information as a situation unfolds, Facebook populated the page's top stories with information from what appeared to be little-known sites, according to screenshots. 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.

"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted these posts this morning and we have removed them". "We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen", the Facebook representative told CNN.

Social-media companies have become vital communications tools for people in the aftermath of natural disasters and other deadly incidents.

Facebook promoted several dubious websites on its Crisis Response page, the social media platform's go-to destination that allows friends and family to see if loved ones have checked in and are safe. Facebook and Google say they are constantly fine-tuning their algorithms to show better results. For Facebook and Google, the failings with their Las Vegas shooting coverage underscore just how much work needs to be done in patching gaps in the pipeline and ensuring the truth is put first.

Both tech giants have faced calls to take greater responsibility for the stories they promote following revelations of Russian interference in last year's U.S. elections. Twitter Inc. also is facing heat over the prevalence of anonymous, automated accounts - or bots - on its platform.

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