Fake News Fills Information Void of Deadly Las Vegas Shooting

 

Last night at around 10 pm, one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history began. At least 58 people were killed and more than 515 wounded after a gunman opened fire on a music festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas.

As authorities and news organizations were attempting to sort out what was happening, the misinformation engines of the internet began stirring up false stories.

As BuzzFeed News Director Ryan Broderick pointed out, 4chan links began to falsely identify the shooter as Geary Danley, calling him a leftist and Democratic supporter.

Once police identified the shooter as Stephen Paddock, accounts on Twitter and Facebook shifted the narrative to state Paddock was part of leftist group Antifa.

Separately, sources like RT (formerly Russia Today) began to claim the shooter was part of ISIS (image above).

These incidents highlight how algorithms built to surface relevant information struggle in the time immediately following a major incident when verified information is not available.

See Ryan Broderick’s video explanation of what occurred here and The Washington Post’s story here.