Online news portal The Wire on Wednesday apologised for indulging in fake news against the Narendra Modi government, admitting that its reportage on tech giant Meta involving BJP leader Amit Malviya was incorrect.
In a statement, the media outlet said that it published a series of reports claiming that Malviya, who heads the BJP IT Cell, had certain privileges to take down Instagram posts without getting technical evidence verified by independent experts.
Stating that an internal review is underway, the news website said: “The Wire acknowledges that the internal editorial processes which preceded publication of these stories did not meet the standards that The Wire sets for itself and its readers expect from it.”
“To have rushed to publish a story we believed was reliable without having the associated technical evidence vetted independently is a failure of which we cannot permit repetition.”
Listing out some “clear editorial learning”, The Wire said, “Complex technical evidence – whether brought by someone who is part of the newsroom or a freelancer – and all verification processes that involve technical skill, must be cross-checked by independent and reputed experts in the field. Had we done this before publication rather than after the fact, this would have ensured that the deception to which we were subjected by a member of our Meta investigation team was spotted in time.”
The statement further stated that the editorial team of The Wire “takes moral responsibility for the omission”, while admitting that its investigative reportage did not pass through multiple layers of editors.
“This combination of not fully grasping the complexities of technology and a slippage in editorial assessment of tech-related matter resulted in the publication of stories which did not eventually hold up. For this, we owe an apology to our readers.”
Earlier this month, The Wire reports claimed that Malviya had the control to delete any post on Instagram that was critical of the BJP and its leadership. It insinuated that the removal of a post mocking Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath was a result of the BJP leader flagging it.
The Instagram post was published by a satirical account showing a man performing aarti to the statue of Yogi Adityanath at the temple he built for the UP CM in Ayodhya. It was removed by Instagram, citing a violation of its nudity norms.
Mark Zuckerberg-owned Meta had rejected the reports, saying that they were based on “fabricated documents”. Numerous experts had also questioned the validity of the reports.