As details about multiple attacks on Paris last week emerged, news about another attack began to circulate—147 students at a university in northeast Kenya, massacred by al-Shabaab militants while police took hours to get to the scene.
Online people began pledging to pray for Kenya, as well as Paris. A BBC report on the attack made the rounds on social media. “Thursday, 147 dead in terrorist attack on Kenya college. Friday, 120 dead in terrorist attacks around Paris. Hate consumes and destroys,” read one Tweet.
Except that the attack in Kenya, in a county called Garissa, happened over seven months ago on April 2. It’s unclear how the story, the most read on BBC’s website on Sunday (Oct 15), began circulating again. Within two days, over 10 million people had clicked on the story, almost four times as many did when the attack actually happened, according to the BBC.
It’s evidence of how little attention was paid to the attack in the first place, another example of how little attention is paid to attacks that happen outside of the West, or selective outrage as some have called it. Readers assumed the story was new because it was the first time they had heard of it. About half of readers were from North America while another quarter was from the United Kingdom. Most of the traffic came from social media.