Have you been paying attention to the horrific news out of Las Vegas, Nevada? A gunman opened fire during a country music festival with a crowd of 22,000 people late Sunday night. At least 58 were killed and more than 500 people were injured.
It didn't take long for online trolls to name the wrong man as the shooter. People have been spreading fake news stories about the wrong man and attacking his family online since the incident occurred. Don't be part of the problem.
Don't fall for fake news
The terrifying shooting took place from a 32nd-floor window in the Mandalay Bay hotel. The gunman was armed with at least 10 rifles and fired into the crowd for several minutes, creating chaos. Several fans were trampled by the fleeing crowd as police searched for the shooter.
Later, police identified the gunman as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock who lived in a retirement community in Nevada. He ended up killing himself as police entered the room he was in.
Those are the most recent, factual details as we know them. Unfortunately, before police released the identity of the gunman, internet trolls took it upon themselves to attack the wrong man online.
For several hours following the shooting, online trolls claimed the shooter was Geary Danley. That's because while police were investigating the incident, they were said to be searching for a woman named Marilou Danley. Law enforcement, at the time, believed Marilou Danley was connected to the shooter, which was later debunked.
That didn't stop trolls from scouring the internet, looking for information on the shooter. It turns out that Geary Danley, who lives in Arkansas, is married to a Marilou Danley.
Image: Geary Danley, wrongly accused Las Vegas shooter. (Source: Facebook)
Geary had nothing to do with the Las Vegas shooting, but trolls found his Facebook page and started posting pictures of him and his family, claiming he was the shooter. If you see any news stories or Facebook posts claiming he is the shooter, DO NOT SHARE THEM! They are fake headlines.
In fact, you should report fake posts like these to Facebook to try and stop them from spreading. Here is how to report a post:
- Click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
- Click Report post or Report photo.
- Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.
This is a far too familiar occurrence nowadays; fake news circulating throughout the internet with too many people spreading it around before doing some research.
Today's online assault on Danley's character may have been politically motivated. His Facebook page hints that he leans one way politically, so of course sites that lean the opposite political direction started pushing the false rumors.
The fake stories quickly became embedded into Google and Facebook algorithms, making them the top search results when anyone searched Danley's name. There was even a crowd-sourced wiki page about him on Everipeda. Before the page was edited, it said," Geary opened fired [sic] on the 34th floor of the Mandalay Bay toward a concert happening across the street."
Here's what the page looks like now after it was updated with accurate info:
We need to do better as a society, especially in times of tragedy like the Las Vegas shooting. Before you share news stories on social media, make sure you've done your research.
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