As law enforcement and news organizations raced to piece together what happened during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history Sunday night in Las Vegas, web denizens less wedded to the truth rushed in to provide details of their own—which quickly went viral.
Links to the 4chan website that falsely identified the shooter and called him a leftist and Democratic supporter were showing up on the top of Google search results, according to tweets by Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Broderick.
Also, apparently Google is putting 4chan threads in their top story unit now? So, the number one hit for his name is a /pol/ thread. pic.twitter.com/OYwW6pbWvy— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) October 2, 2017
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.
A few hours later, searches for the same name were showing articles debunking the 4chan post and cataloguing the trail of viral fake news after the shooting.
Once police identified Paddock, accounts on Twitter and Facebook began claiming he was part of the leftist group Antifa.
A spokeswoman for Google wasn't able to immediately provide a comment.