Varadarajan confirmed the news site will review ‘all material and documents and sources’.
After receiving widespread criticism for its coverage of Meta’s XCheck programme, the Wire has decided to “suspend the stories” until it carries out a “thorough internal review of all material and documents and sources”, the portal’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan told Newslaundry.
In response to a set of questions from Newslaundry, Varadarajan texted: “We have been parleying, editors and reporters, and decided to suspend the stories till we do a thorough internal review of all materials and documents and sources.”
The Wire had published two stories on Meta’s controversial XCheck programme. In response to the stories, Meta as a company, its chief information security officer Guy Rosen, and its policy communications director Andy Stone had called these documents “fabrications” and said they hoped the Wire was a victim of a hoax and not the perpetrator of it.
See Newslaundry’s explainer of the controversy here.
Later in the week, the news portal published details on the technical processes it followed, which included redacted emails from two cybersecurity experts. Both the experts have since told Newslaundry they were not part of the process.
The first expert was initially cited in the Wire’s Saturday report to have verified the DKIM signature of a contested internal email. He is a Microsoft employee. Although his name was redacted from the initial story, his employer and his positions in the company were mentioned.
This expert – who was later identified by Varadarajan in a tweet – told Newslaundry he “did not participate in any such thing”.
Microsoft, the expert’s employer, also sent Newslaundry a statement early this morning, saying: “Over the weekend, an Indian publication erroneously attributed commentary to a colleague. They have been informed of their error and a correction has been requested.”
The second expert, an unnamed independent cybersecurity researcher, told Newslaundry he wasn’t part of the process either and did not send any email or verify the DKIM signature of the impugned email from Stone. The expert also permitted Newslaundry to reveal his name – Kanishk Karan.
This is a developing story. Read the Wire’s statement on its internal review here.
Updates on Oct 18, 9.26 pm and Oct 19,9.20 am: This report incorrectly used DMIK instead of DKIM in two instances. This has been corrected.
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