And early Monday morning, Google search queries for “Geary Danley” — a man initially (and falsely) identified as a victim of the shooting — were served Google News links to the notorious message board 4chan, which was openly working to propagate hoaxes that might politicize the tragedy.
Facebook and Google are hardly alone. Twitter — the internet’s beating heart for news — is continually under siege by trolls, automated accounts, and politically motivated fake news peddlers. In the aftermath of Sunday night’s shooting, a number of pro-Trump accounts of unknown origin tried to link the gunman to leftist groups in an apparent attempt to politicize the tragedy and sow divisions. Others hinted at false flags and crisis actors, suggesting that there was a greater conspiracy behind the shooting (Twitter told BuzzFeed News it has since suspended many of these accounts).
And on sites like YouTube, unverified information flowed largely unchecked, with accounts like The End Times News Report impersonating legitimate news sources to circulate conspiracy and rumor.