The internet’s most popular search engine has been accused of encouraging users to share a fake news story about the London Bridge terror attack, and it seems to have had little effect.
The fake news claim was spread on Twitter on Sunday night, but was quickly deleted and re-tweeted by the UK’s top search engine, Google.
The news of the hoax was picked up by a number of US media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times, which reported it as an isolated incident, with the hashtag #LondonBridge.
The UK-based website Buzzfeed also picked up on the story, reporting that Google had confirmed that the fake news post had been “reposted multiple times.”
The fake story claims that “an anonymous person claiming to be from the police” and claiming to have a background in “terrorism investigations” has been responsible for spreading a fake article about the incident online.
The story has since been deleted and is no longer being shared on the popular social media platform, but Buzzfeed says the fake article was still on the site.
The article states that a person with “a criminal past in England” was responsible for publishing the fake story.
It also claimed that a “senior intelligence official” was “trying to help the police find a suspect”.
Buzzfeed wrote: “The London Bridge attack was just the latest in a string of fake news stories circulating online.
This one, this one, these ones, these were all hoaxes, they all used the same basic theme: a person claiming they have a criminal background in an area of the UK where they are trying to find a person who has committed a crime.”
Buzzfeed claims that it found evidence that the London attack was “the work of an individual or group that has been operating online since 2015”.
It also says that a Google spokesperson confirmed the company’s findings.
The London Bridge attacks The fake article has since also been shared by news organisations from Reuters to Reuters.
Buzzfeed has also been criticised by social media users for publishing a story which appears to be sourced from a fake social media account, but it did not confirm the authenticity of the information.
The Twitter account used by the account claimed to be linked to the UK government, and claimed to have been set up in March.
It posted a message saying it had been set-up “to promote and expose misinformation and propaganda on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit.”
A spokesperson for the British government told Buzzfeed that the government was “deeply concerned about the hoax and the hoaxers who spread it”.
“This is yet another example of how fake news is spreading on the internet and the UK Government is taking steps to stop it from doing so,” the spokesperson said.
BuzzFeed has previously said that it has received reports of fake stories circulating on the platform which have caused users to “post false information, including fabricated facts.”
The social media company has since deleted the accounts it said had spread the false story, but the Twitter account is still online.
A spokesperson told BuzzFeed that it had deleted the account because the account “tweeters were spreading misinformation, which we believe is not correct.”
It also said that Buzzfeed would be “complying with relevant law enforcement authorities.”
In a statement to Buzzfeed, Google said that “this is an isolated case that was quickly reported to us by a UK citizen.”
“We took immediate action, immediately removed the story from our news feed, and removed the links to it,” the statement said.
Google also said it was “currently investigating” the matter.
“We take all reported reports of this type extremely seriously and will investigate them thoroughly,” it said.
The spokesperson also said Buzzfeed had been given a free pass on the matter, despite “the fact that this is a story that we are deeply concerned about spreading on our platform.”
“While it is not our responsibility to vet reports of hoaxes that we post on our website, Buzzfeed is the only media organisation that has had a chance to vet this story before it went live,” the spokesman said.
“Google has also given us a pass on this story so that we can continue to take all reports of false content seriously and work to prevent the spread of misinformation.”
BuzzFeed said it had “no evidence that this account was the source of the London bridge hoax.”
Google is currently investigating the story Buzzfeed published, and has said it will be taking action against the account.
“Our investigation is ongoing and we will provide a more detailed statement as soon as we have more information,” a spokesperson for Google told Buzzgify.
Buzzgifies article is free to read and print.
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