2017-10-04 15:51:21

How Facebook and Google Promoted Fake News About Vegas Shooting

GUEST: Ramesh Srinivasan, Director of the Digital Cultures Lab and Associate Professor of Information Studies and Design and Media Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles. Author of Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World.

BACKGROUND: Barely had the blood dried from the hundreds of dead or injured victims of Monday morning's mass shooting in Las Vegas when some right wing media outlets began publishing "news" about the suspected shooter. Some of the reports claimed the alleged shooter Stephen Paddock was an anti-Donald Trump liberal.

While that is not surprising, what was more problematic was that Facebook and Google's automated algorithms elevated those stories giving them prominence in the hours after the tragedy.

The ad-based structures of these online companies and how they end up promoting polarizing and often dishonest news has become the focus of politicians recently, especially after last November's election when Facebook and other social media companies were thought to have played a significant role.

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