‘The Wire’ Withholds Investigative Reports on Meta, Announces Internal Review
Image Courtesy: Twitter (@thewire_in)
New Delhi: After serious doubts were raised over the veracity of ‘internal’ documents, emails and screenshots cited in its investigative reports on social media giant Meta, alleging that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was extended undue favours to pull down posts, independent news website, The Wire, on Wednesday said it was retracting the reports and had set up an internal review of all documents and sources.
“In the light of doubts and concerns from experts about some of this material, and about the verification processes we used – including messages to us by two experts denying making assessments of that process directly and indirectly attributed to them in our third story – we are undertaking an internal review of the materials at our disposal. This will include a review of all documents, source material and sources used for our stories on Meta. Based on our sources’ consent, we are also exploring the option of sharing original files with trusted and reputed domain experts as part of this process,” read a statement by The Wire.
After the four reports were published, the news website, reputed for its critical and investigative reporting, faced a barrage of questions from well-known technical experts in India and abroad, most of whom have been its well-wishers. Some even suggested that the news website may have been ‘scammed’ as the veracity of the ‘leaked’ documents was under cloud.
Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, denied the allegations and said that the documents cited by the website as proof were "fabricated", adding that “we hope that The Wire is the victim of this hoax, not the perpetrator."
However, The Wire, maintained that it had “received the information and other materials from our sources, at least one of whom had earlier supplied material that we have been using for a separate and ongoing investigation.”
It said it “sought to check the integrity and authenticity of the new source material as best we could, and then proceeded to draft each report, being careful to strike a balance between showing our readers what this material contained but not enough to reveal the sources’ identities.”
Pending the internal review, the website has withheld all the four reports from “public view.”
Incidentally, The Wire’s co-founding Editor, Siddharth Vardarajan, was among the 180 journalists worldwide who were probable targets of surveillance by Israeli spyware Pegasus.
Various earlier investigative reports, such as by Reporters’ Collective, have also pointed out how Facebook’s algorithm has favoured the ruling BJP in India with regard to divisive content, hate speeches as well as surrogate advertising.
Read The Wire’s full statement here.
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