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The bombshell Meta report keeps unraveling

The Wire removed the report from its website.


Jacob Seitz


Posted on Oct 19, 2022

After Indian news outlet the Wire released a contentious report alleging Meta was doing the bidding of India’s ruling BJP party, a number of people began poking a number of holes in the story.

Now, one of its major “sources” is calling out the publication for using his identity and saying he helped corroborated the story, something he says he had nothing to do with.

The Wire published a scathing report last week that implied that Meta was taking down Instagram posts from a satirical account at the urging of the BJP, the party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The story claimed an official within the party had the ability to expedite the removals of posts on Instagram and had at least seven taken down.

The story was allegedly corroborated by IT experts. But Meta vehemently denied it, and even some of the site’s biggest critics doubted its veracity.

In a tweet, Kanishk Karan, an IT specialist according to his LinkedIn, said he was listed as one of the “independent security researchers” who the Wire used to “verify” their report.

Karan said that never happened.

“BIG: It has come to my attention that I’ve been listed as one of the ‘independent security researchers’ who supposedly ‘verified’ the Wire’s report on FB ‘Xcheck’ in India,” he wrote. “I would like to confirm that I did NOT DO the DKIM verification for them.”

Karan claimed someone created a fake email and impersonated him to give the reporting legitimacy. Karan said he was reached out to by the reporter, but could not conduct a review of the Wire’s findings. 

Karan’s tweets are just the latest in a series of issues with the reporting from the Wire. Meta immediately denied the reporting when it was released, calling the allegations “fabrications.”

Meta Chief Information Security Officer Guy Rosen denied the claims last week in a tweet thread, saying the report was “outlandish and riddled with falsities.”

After Karan’s latest tweets alleging he was not involved with the story, the author of the story, Devesh Kumar, temporarily deleted his Twitter account, but has since reactivated it.

Kumar did not respond to a request for comment. In an interview on Meta reporter Casey Newton’s Substack, the Wire’s founding editor Siddharth Varadarajan said it was the tweet from Karan that prompted them to pull the story.

The Wire originally stood by its story in a string of vehement tweets, saying it trusted the source of the documents.

However, it since backtracked, announcing an internal investigation into the story on Tuesday. It has also since taken the story offline.

In a statement published to Twitter, the Wire said it is “exploring the option of sharing original files with trusted and reputed domain experts” as part of their review process.

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*First Published: Oct 19, 2022, 9:07 am CDT