Recently, The Wire and Meta appeared to be fighting with each other over whether or not Meta was removing posts from Instagram that were reported by a specific person. The Wire made more than one post about this. Meta countered with a post on its Newsroom titled “What The Wire Reports Got Wrong”.
Today, The Wire posted the following statement:
“Earlier this week, The Wire announced its decision to conduct an internal review of its recent coverage of Meta, especially the sources and materials involved in our reporting.
“Our investigation, which is ongoing, does not at yet allow us to take a conclusive view about the authenticity and bona fides of the sources with whom a member of our reporting team says he has been in touch with over an extended period of time. However, certain discrepancies have emerged in the material used. These include the inability of our investigators to authenticate both the email purportedly sent from a***** @fb . Com as well as the email purportedly received from Ujjwal Kumar, (an expert cited in the reporting as having endorsed one of the findings, but who has, in fact, categorically denied sending such an email.) As a result, The Wire believes it is appropriate to retract the stories.
“We are still reviewing the entire matter, including the possibility that it was deliberately sought to misinform or deceive The Wire.
“Lapses in editorial oversight are also being reviewed, as are editorial roles, so that failsafe protocols are put into place ensuring the accuracy of all source-based reporting.
“Given the discrepancies that have come to our attention via our review so far, The Wire will also conduct a thorough review of previous reporting done by the technical team involved in our Meta coverage, and remove the stories from public view until that process is complete…”
Previous to the redaction from The Wire, Meta posted about the situation in its Newsroom blog. Meta wrote the following:
“Two articles published by The Wire allege that a user whose account is cross-checked can influence decisions on Instagram without any review. Our cross-check program was built to prevent potential over-enforcement mistakes and to double-check cases where a decision could require more understanding or there could be a higher risk for a mistake. To be clear, our cross-check program does not grant enrolled accounts the power to automatically have content removed from our platform”.
Meta also wrote that the claims in The Wire’s article was “based on allegedly leaked screenshots from our internal tools. We believe this document is fabricated.” Meta also stated that The Wire’s second story cites emails from a Meta employee – and claimed that the screenshot included in the story has two emails. Meta said both were fake.
It is unclear who, exactly, fed misinformation to The Wire regarding Meta’s Instagram interactions. What is abundantly clear is that the person – or persons – appear to have fabricated what might be false claims. It is unfortunate that The Wire didn’t catch that before publication.