Who Is Geary Danley? 4Chan Falsely Identifies Las Vegas Shooting Suspect


Following a mass shooting in Las Vegas that has left at least 50 people dead and hundreds more injured, Facebook has activated its "Safety Check" feature.

Google said the 4chan allegations did not appear in search results when users typed general inquiries about the Las Vegas shooting, but rather showed up in its "Top Stories" section when users searched the man's name. Mashable was able to replicate the result, but the links no longer appear in the module.

Both Google and Facebook seem to have acted fast to fix the problem here.

Perhaps the most egregious strain of misinformation took hold after far-right trolls gathered on 4chan, a forum in which individuals are permitted to post nearly anything anonymously, and, through some amateur online sleuthing, misidentified the shooter.

The stories claimed that the shooter was an "anti-Trump" Democrat and displayed pictures of a man who is not identified as a suspect.

Meanwhile, in place of its previous post, The Gateway Pundit is now promoting a story pushing the notion that ISIS is behind the Las Vegas attack, citing the Islamic group's unsupported claims that the shooter "converted to Islam months ago". The first link, to a site called mytodaytv.com, appears to have uploaded someone else's video of the shooting to YouTube (the description says the video "may contain copyrighted material"), and embedded it on the site.

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In a statement, a spokesperson for the company said.

"Our Global Security Operations Center spotted the post this morning and removed it". However, their removal was delayed, allowing them to be screen captured and circulated online. Google hired the founder of 4chan, Christopher Poole, in 2016, though there's no indication that he's involved with the search results that promoted 4chan. And the same goes for Google's Top Stories, which is often the first thing people see in their search results.

On Monday, Facebook said it had done so and also would hire an additional 1,000 workers to police ads on its site. Twitter coughed up false rumors and "missing" people who weren't connected to the slaughter.

Tech companies have, instead, announced moves to cut the flow of advertising dollars to fake-news websites, partnered with journalists and professional fact-checkers to check on trending stories and topics and granted greater services meant to help users discern what information is true and what is not.

But despite being patently false, write-ups naming Danley as the attacker promptly embedded themselves into Facebook and Google's algorithms.