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Google News points users to hoax article on election results

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Google News was pointing web surfers looking for election results to false numbers as of Monday.
Image: Associated press / David Goldman, File

As the media autopsies the various forces at play in last week’s election results, online social platforms particularly Facebook are coming under increased scrutiny for their role in spreading blatantly false news stories.

But it seems even Google’s news search isn’t infallible when it comes to filtering out false information.

For the past several hours, Google’s top news item on a search for “final election results” has directed users to a post from a rudimentary WordPress blog falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the popular vote.

Image: google, screenshot

The error was first reported by Mediaite Sunday evening, and it appeared to have been fixed by the following afternoon.

A Google spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to our request for comment.

The same evening it was reported, The Daily Show‘s Dan Amira noticed a surge in Twitter users citing the blog to insist that Trump had more total votes than Hillary Clinton.

The author of the news site in question called “70news” claims the erroneous numbers came from “twitter posts [sic]” and that results from “Wikipedia or [Mainstream media]” don’t match the site’s own because “liberals are still reeling and recovering from Trump-shock victory.”

A sidebar on the site points readers to other false stories involving a conspiracy theory that billionaire Democratic donor George Soros is funding Anti-Trump protests. An entire section of the site is dedicated to “Hillary’s Health.”

For the record, the Associated Press‘ latest election tally shows Clinton leading Trump overall by around 670,000 votes.

Google’s mistake comes as Facebook contends with its role in spreading misinformation a disproportionate amount from right-wing conspiracy sites in the months leading up to the election. The social network’s critics argue that it should do more to vet articles shared on its site for accuracy.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly insisted that these types of hoaxes do not affect user opinions.

“Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other,” Zuckerberg said in a post on Saturday.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/11/14/google-fake-news-story-result/

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