(credit: Google News)
Google News took the unusual step of confirming its use of the imageboard site 4chan as a news source on Monday.
The admission followed Google News’ propagation of an incorrect name as a potential shooter in the tragic Las Vegas shooting on Sunday night.
A reporter from tech-news site The Outline posted the full text of an e-mail he received from an unnamed Google representative. Reporter William Turton said that he had not discussed any “attribution terms” before receiving Google’s e-mail, which confirmed that the Google News service was bombed into automatically reposting a false shooter’s name.
The incorrect shooter’s name, which Ars Technica will not repost to reduce any further robo-aggregated hits, began appearing on 4chan’s “pol” board, which is infamous for pushing intentionally inflammatory content.
The named appeared on the board when its members began looking through people connected to names that had been mentioned by Las Vegas investigators. One of those people—a sibling of a person of interest who was later cleared by Vegas police of wrongdoing—had social-media attachments to left-leaning subjects such as MoveOn.org and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.
Both 4chan and right-wing misinformation sites like Gateway Pundit began spreading the false name as a suspect while calling the person a “far-left loon.” (GP’s article has since been removed, but a Google Cache of it still exists.)
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