Indian news website, The Wire, has sensationally taken down all its stories against Meta claiming that BJP IT Cell chief Amit Malviya was granted special power to block content on Instagram. In its statement, The Wire said that it intended to ‘review its reporting on Meta.’
The statement by the website read, “Starting from October 6, 2022, The Wire published four reports on Meta, plus a statement on October 17. Our first report disclosed the fact that Meta’s controversial XCheck programme was operating in India and that BJP leaders were among those given this status – usually understood as safeguarding their posts from takedown complaints. The document we received also indicated that the role extended to taking down others’ posts as well – a claim Meta denied. In the second story, we published an email from a senior Meta official, Andy Stone, expressing anger at the leak of the document.”
It added, “The publication of each report prompted appreciation as well as criticism. Meta said the documents reproduced by The Wire were fabricated but there were also questions from other quarters about the authenticity of the documents on which our reports were based.
“The Wire 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. We 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.”
The website said that ‘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,” it added.
The Wire, in its series of reports, had claimed that Malviya was granted a special power by Meta to block any content on Instagram. Meta had rejected the website’s claims calling it fake news.
Meta had said in its statement, “The first article claims that a cross-check account has the power to have content removed from our platform with no questions asked. This is false. Cross-check has nothing to do with the ability to report posts to seek the removal of content. The posts in question were surfaced for review by automated systems, not user reports.
“The system is designed to ensure that enforcement decisions related to content posted by cross-check accounts are made accurately and with additional levels of human review. We don’t exempt anyone from our Community Standards and remove content that violates them if we see it. Information on cross-check has been shared publicly on our Transparency Center.
“This article was also based on allegedly leaked screenshots from our internal tools. We believe this document is fabricated. The URL on that “report” is not in use. The naming convention is one we don’t use. There is no such report.
“We did not identify a user report regarding the @cringearchivist content in September as reported.
“The second story cites emails from a Meta employee – the screenshot included in the story has two emails – both are fake. There are no such emails.
The same story references an internal journalist “watch list.” No such list exists.”