The Wire claims to have been deceived, BJP leader Amit Malviya to sue the publicationtext_fields
BJP's IT cell head Amit Malviya said he will sue The Wire news website for implicating him in stories on Meta's content moderation policies. The publication has retracted stories and claimed it was deceived. An internal review has been launched into the developments and alleged efforts to discredit the news platform.
The Wire's Meta stories had alleged that the tech giant has given BJP's IT cell head Amit Malviya special privileges under its opaque XCheck programme. This would have allowed him to take down posts on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook as per his wish. The story was based on two documents - an Instagram internal report and an internal email sent by Meta's Communications Director Andy Stone to his team.
When the authenticity of these documents was questioned, The Wire could not provide satisfactory answers. On October 18, the decision to conduct an internal review was announced. This led to finding discrepancies and retracting the stories on October 23.
Announcing the decision to retract Meta stories, The Wire said the possibility that it was a deliberate attempt to misinform or deceive the publication is being reviewed. It is also investigating previous stories written by Devesh Kumar. Stories written and co-written by him including two on AtlNews co-founder Zubair Ahmed have been pulled down. The Tek Fog app-related stories co-written by the same author are also being reviewed.
The Wire yesterday issued an apology to its readers and said the publication was subjected to deception by a member of its Meta investigation team. This could have been spotted if the technical evidence were verified by independent experts before publication. The news platform also declared that the person responsible is no longer associated with The Wire but did not name them. Many speculate that the person referred to is Devesh Kumar, reported The News Minute.
On the same day, Amit Malviya said he will file criminal and civil proceedings against the publication for "forged documents" with a view to maligning and tarnishing reputation. The Wire responded by saying the person responsible for the deception will provide an explanation in court. It added that the malintent to discredit the news platform is obvious.
The Editors Guild of India commented on the controversy and emphasised the need for extra care in investigative journalism. "The Guild urges newsrooms to resist the temptation of moving fast on sensitive stories, circumventing due journalistic norms and checks."