NEWS

Untrue Brad Pitt Cambodia Story Still Tops Search Results Month Later

Truth rating: 10
Brad Pitt Cambodia Results

By Shari Weiss |

Brad Pitt Cambodia Results

(Getty Images)

An untrue story about Brad Pitt going to Cambodia is still topping search results a month after it was proven wrong. This is indicative of the problem with fake news and search engines.

In late March, E! wrongly claimed Pitt secretly joined Angelina Jolie and their kids in Cambodia as she promoted her film, First They Killed My Father. The outlet falsely contended the actor went to the country on an under-the-radar trip to spend time with his children as Jolie was on her press tour. Within hours of the report’s publication, Gossip Cop investigated and discovered it was inaccurate. A rep for Pitt exclusively told us that while he previously traveled to Cambodia as Jolie filmed the movie, he was not there recently as she and the kids returned to promote the project.

Despite the on-the-record denial from Pitt’s own spokesperson, unscrupulous sites like HollywoodLife not only picked up the incorrect information, but also piled on to it by purporting to have “exclusive details” about Pitt’s “secret Cambodian family reunion.” We stress: The star never went to Cambodia this year. Gossip Cop again exposed these Pitt-Jolie “secret reunion” tales as fabrications.

Yet, now weeks later, when one searches Google for “Brad Pitt Cambodia,” it is not the truth that pops up first. Rather, the inaccurate stories from E!, HollywoodLife and others who wrongly picked up the misinformation dominate the results. As seen in the first screengrab below, the first listing is about Jolie’s trip to Cambodia, while the very next result is the original false E! article. It is followed by other posts that parroted the untrue claims.

The second screengrab below shows the results when searching under the “news” tab. As seen in the top section, outlets that copied the erroneous allegations are the first to be listed. Gossip Cop, denoted with a “Fact Check” label, is the sixth result. The second section below that similarly starts by giving a result for one of the mistaken articles. One of Gossip Cop’s accurate busts on the subject is next, but followed by another slew of outlets that passed off fiction as fact.

This is why fake news can end up going viral. Instead of showing the most accurate story about Pitt and Cambodia at the top of searches, the results list is frontloaded with all the articles that got it wrong. And this is a month later, to boot. While E! should certainly be faulted for publishing the falsehoods in the first place, search engines are still distributing the untruths. There must be an onus on Google and its ilk to deliver real information, not fake news.

Brad Pitt Cambodia Search

(Google)

Brad Pitt Cambodia Search Results

(Google)

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Untrue stories about Brad Pitt traveling to Cambodia dominate search results.

 


  1. Gossip Cop
  2. Mediaite
  3. LawNewz
  4. The Mary Sue