Financial Times amends article which characterised a mere allegation as a fact

A Financial Times article by their Tech correspondent Hannah Murphy (“Facebook employees demand changes around Palestinian content”, June 1) included the following claim:

[the letter] calls on Facebook’s management to order a third-party audit of enforcement actions around Arab and Muslim content, and to refer a post by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing Palestinian civilians as terrorists to its independent oversight board.

We complained to the Financial Times Tech editor, noting that we reviewed the last several weeks of Facebook posts – presumably the time period in question – by the prime minister and were unable to find a post where he describes Palestinian civilians as terrorists.  We asked that – unless the journalist can cite the specific post in question – the article be amended to make it clear that the alleged post represents merely a claim by anti-Israel activists, not, as the wording would suggest, a fact.

The Accuracy clause of the Editors’ Code of Practice includes the following:

iv) The Press, while free to editorialise and campaign, must distinguish clearly between comment, conjecture and fact.

Our complaint was upheld and the sentence revised thusly:

It calls on management to order a third-party audit of Facebook’s enforcement actions around Arab and Muslim content, and to refer a post by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu — which the letter claimed “mischaracterised Palestinian civilians as terrorists” — to Facebook’s independent oversight board.*

The following Editor’s note was added:

*This article has been amended to include the letter’s characterisation of the Netanyahu post

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1 Comment

  1. says: Wayne Goldstein

    Woulda been better had FT compelled the reporter to cite the post and remove even the claim of the “employees”.

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