Facebook was already under intense scrutiny for its role in allowing fake news and hoaxes to thrive on its platform. Now, the site is again facing outrage in the wake of Sunday’s tragic shooting in Las Vegas. At the center of this most recent controversy is the fact that Facebook shared fake content in its own Crisis Response center identifying the wrong shooter.
On Facebook’s Safety Check page for the Las Vegas mass shooting, the site linked to an article from a Blogspot site called “Alt-Right News” that blamed the shooting on a “Trump-hating Rachel Maddow fan.” Of course, it’s no surprise that content like this would crop up online in the wake of a tragedy. However, what is surprising is the fact that Facebook promoted it—on its Safety Check page, no less.
For its part, Facebook apologized for the mistake in allowing the content to remain up.
“Our Global Security Operations Center spotted the post this morning and removed it,” a spokesperson said. “However, its removal was delayed by a few minutes, allowing it to be screen captured and circulated online. We are working to fix the issue that allowed this to happen in the first place and deeply regret the confusion this caused.”
Of course, the real problem here is Facebook’s automated algorithms. If the company was a little more careful with how it reviewed content (or trusted more humans to do it), issues like this one might be avoided.