The wire, the Indian news channel that published an explosive and now-withdrawn story about Meta earlier this month, says it was subjected to “cheating” by one of the members of its “Meta investigation team”. in a update posted on his site Today, The wire apologizes for spreading the retracted story, in which Meta was originally accused of granting special privileges to an Indian politician on Instagram and Facebook.
This latest admission indicates that the outlet’s editors were somehow misled by an employee, raising the question of whether the employee (who? The wire does not mention) fell victim to some kind of trickery or if it was done intentionally as a way to smear Meta. The wire says it is currently reviewing its editorial processes and that it could have prevented the big mistake beforehand.
“Had we done this before publication rather than afterwards, it would have ensured that the deception we were subjected to had been spotted in time by a member of our Meta research team,” The wire explains. “The editorial board takes moral responsibility for the omission and commits to ensuring that in the future all technical evidence is verified by independent experts before publication.”
The Wire failed to verify several key pieces of evidence
You can get the full story in this post, but the general gist is that The wire accused Meta of deleting a controversial post on Instagram on behalf of Amit Malviya, the head of the information technology group at India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). It backed up its claims with an alleged screenshot and video showing Instagram’s internal moderation system provided by an alleged “source” at Meta.
According to platform gameDevesh Kumar, one of the co-authors of the report, was the only person who The wire who spoke to the source. The wire has since suspended access to Kumar’s reporting on Tek Fog, an alleged app the BJP uses to monitor and spread misinformation on social media platforms. The outlet says: Kumar’s Tek Fog Report is “pending the outcome of an internal review by The Wire, as one of the authors was part of the technical team involved in our now-withdrawn Meta coverage.” Kumar too his Twitter account disabledAnd his website is no longer available.
The wire retracted his story on Sunday, stating that the investigation “does not allow us to make a definitive judgment as to the authenticity and bona fide of the sources that a member of our reporting team says he has had contact with over an extended period of time.” At the time, the outlet said it was unable to verify several key pieces of evidence it had used to defend its case, including an alleged email from Andy Stone, Meta’s policy communications director, and several back-and-forth between The wire and independent experts who later came forward to say they had never been in contact with the point of sale.