Marilou Danley has since been dismissed as a person of interest; earlier Monday morning, police established that she was out of the country at the time of the shooting and that the shooter had used her slot machine card, which triggered the initial investigation into her involvement. The headline, still visible in search results, and remaining on the first page of results for Danley when I ran my 9am. search, read, "Las Vegas Shooter Reportedly a Democrat Who Liked Rachel Maddow, MoveOn.org and Associated with anti-Trump Army".
A reporter from tech-news site The Outline posted the full text of an e-mail he received from an unnamed Google representative.
The false claim, however, quickly spread across the internet and was amplified by Google.
Many opined that the shooter's name was "Geary Danley", claiming he was a registered Democrat, with message board site 4chan yet again proving to be a hotbed of alt-right untruths, according to the Guardian.
"Making sure 4chan is not included in this module seems like the lowest possible bar you could set for Google, and yet the company failed to clear it", he adds. (The company would not say how many moderators now screen its ads.) Twitter faces tough questions about harassment and violent threats on its platform, and is still struggling to live down a reputation as a haven for neo-Nazis and other poisonous groups.
The Silicon Valley company blamed computer algorithms for the slip-up and said it would work to improve them. But according to some background bullet points a Google spokesperson shared with a journalist from The Outline, the company admitted that "when the 4chan story broke, it triggered Top Stories which unfortunately led to this inaccurate result". But the very technology that caused the platform to promote 4chan for a few hours has now been slightly altered; now, the algorithm is promoting "relevant results", not those pesky fake ones.
Recurrent fake news themes have also began to show up on social media in wake of the shooting.
Both Google and YouTube have been criticized for punishing independent and alternative media, either through vigorous demonetization of content or burying certain publishers in their search results.
When Safety Check was activated after the mass shooting in Las Vegas, a crisis page was automatically created, containing publicly posted content to help people stay informed and tools such as fundraisers. ISIS often takes credit for attacks by individuals with no known links to the group.