Digital space is abuzz with Meta (formerly Facebook) taking on The Wire, a non-profit news website (as claimed by its founders) for its two articles based on “forged” and “fake documents”. Meta’s response was hard and no holds barred as Andy Stone from Meta Communications called out Sidharth Varadarajan, the editor of The Wire.
Stone tweeted, “Days ago @svaradrajan promised more following @thewire_in ‘s reports this week based in fake materials. Despite our unambiguous rejection of the fabricated documents and numerous experts questioning their validity. The Wire still has not corrected its reporting”.
Stone was replying to the claims of Varadrajan who, on Wednesday, claimed the media outlet had received a fresh set of documents which will result in more stories.
Days ago, @svaradarajan promised more following @thewire_in’s reports this week based on fake materials. Despite our unambiguous rejection of the fabricated documents and numerous experts questioning their validity, The Wire still has not corrected its reporting. pic.twitter.com/Hpi80EaZeU
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) October 14, 2022
“Meta has also tried to raise all kinds of doubts about the email address, Instagram URL, etc. The Wire will be answering and debunking all of their obfuscation in a detailed story later today,” Varadarajan said in another tweet.
“Stone has a reputation among journalists as a spokesperson who spins on behalf of Meta (after all, doing so is his job), but not as a spokesperson who brazenly lies for the company”, CNN Business wrote in its story titled ‘Meta calls out news outlet, says it published stories based on fabricated documents’.
It all started with The Wire publishing two stories alleging that a user whose account is cross-checked can influence content decisions on Instagram without any review. It insinuated that Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP)’s Information and Technology (IT) wing head Amit Malviya was having the control to delete any post on Instagram that was critical of the BJP and its leadership.
The Wire had even claimed to be in possession of a social media account whose post mocking Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was taken down. The portal alleged that it was BJP IT cell head Malviya who got the post deleted.
“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,” Meta said.
It went on: “The system is designed to ensure that the 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.”
Guy Rosen, Meta’s chief information security officer (CISO) said that the claims and accusations made by The Wire are “outlandish and riddled with falsities”.
“I wanted to set the record straight about two stories run this week by @thewire_in with untrue claims about Meta’s content moderation operations and processes. These stories are fabrications”, Rosen wrote in a series of tweets on the microblogging site.
“That same story makes reference to an internal journalist ‘watchlist’. These accusations are outlandish and riddled with falsities. Let’s hope @thewire_in is the victim not the perpetrator of this hoax”. There is no such list”, Rosen added.