Thursday, April 9, 2020
Home News Reports BBC deletes 'fake news' research, amends, uploads, deletes again

BBC deletes ‘fake news’ research, amends, uploads, deletes again

This was not merely a report. This was an over 100 pages worth of research which is not meant to be altered willy-nilly. If it is, it proves that the research is terribly unreliable and shoddy. Will the BBC apologise?

Also Read

Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

BBC had recently published a ‘research’ paper on fake news which had created quite the brouhaha. The research was conducted based on shoddy methodology, based on questionable sources and had been comprehensively debunked by OpIndia.com.

After massive uproar against the report where they willy-nilly concluded that Nationalism drives fake news, the BBC responded to The Better India’s email that raised an objection against their name being included in the pro-BJP fake news purveyors list. The BBC then acknowledged that they had made an error in including their name. They had asserted that the website’s name had been removed from the ‘research’ and attributed it to ‘human error’.

Early morning today, we noticed that the BBC research paper had been pulled down as the website displayed a 404 error.

- article continues after ad - - article resumes -

As can be seen from the screenshot, the research was pulled down and a 404 error was displayed at around 8:40 AM on 19th November 2018.

Shortly after the report was pulled down, at about 9:15 AM, the research paper came back up online with a set of explanations attached. A screenshot of the amended report that we managed to take is as follows:

Among other things, the addendum corrected the mistake they had made in interpreting the word “diwaliya” as “diwali” and reiterated that they were not branding any handle of publication as a “fake news source” but had only shared sources that had “shared fake news even once”.

Even the explanation comes with its own set of problems. If they had stuck to that criteria, they should have ideally included their sources like Altnews.in and IndiaSpend. In fact, they should have added BBC itself to the list of fake news purveyors if sharing “even one” fake news was a criterion.

In fact, even their amendment was laughable since misinterpreting “Diwaliya” as “Diwali” was least of the problems that plagued the fake news research. In the segment where they had included this misinterpretation, they had actually included a real news as fake news. The addendum did not rectify or acknowledge this error. The other errors were also not corrected.

The Better India had also raised an objection to the fact that BBC had maligned the website’s reputation publicly but failed to acknowledge its mistake in public. Rather, they only emailed the clarification. In the amended report that went up briefly, they had not acknowledged their error in including The Better India either.

They also went to great lengths to explain why their sample set – since part of qualitative research – was justified. In the amended report, however, they didn’t answer why they used qualitative research methods to draw generalised conclusions (which is not the aim of any qualitative research). They also didn’t explain how a long deleted website formed a part of their data set and whether they relied on secondary sources and not primary sources.

However, just as we were delving into the addendum, we realised that the report had been pulled down again.

At around 10:43 AM, when we checked again, the report was gone and the website displayed a 404 error again.

This begs several important questions:

  1. Will the report be uploaded again?
  2. If their research employed reliable methods and algorithms, why did they feel the need to pull down the research not once, but twice.
  3. If they have had to pull down the research twice, how reliable was it to begin with.
  4. If the research was based on algorithms and analysis, how can they possibly selectively alter it now
  5. This was not merely a report. This was an over 100 pages worth of research which is not meant to be altered willy-nilly. If it is, it proves that the research is terribly unreliable and shoddy. Will the BBC apologise?

Note: The BBC research paper on fake news was not uploaded to its website till the time this report was published. We are given to understand that the document will be uploaded… again. When it is, we will publish our comments accordingly.

- Support OpIndia -
Support OpIndia by making a monetary contribution

Trending now

Nupur J Sharma
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017

Latest News

Jammu and Kashmir: Jaish-e-Mohammad commander killed in encounter with CRPF

Sajad Nawab Dar, a Commander of Jaish-e-Mohammad, killed in encounter with CRPF in Sopore in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir

Radio Mirchi RJ Sayema defends malevolent Tablighi Jamaat members; claims all TV news about them fake

RJ Sayema brazenly defends the malafide actions of Tablighi Jamaat members claiming that incriminating news about them on TV is all fake

Watch: A heartbeaking video of a three-year-old daughter crying to be with her mother in quarantine, serving as a nurse in Belgavi

Nurse Sugandha had not gone home for 11 days as she is in quarantine for 14 days and her daughter went to bed crying almost every night.

Nizamuddin railway station employee tests positive of coronavirus, 15 health workers including doctors of Railway hospital got infected

15 people including doctors and nurses have been kept in isolation after they came in contact with a Coronavirus positive person

Islamists attack Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal after he asks them to stay at home on Shab-e-Baraat

AAP Supremo took to social media to request Muslims to stay at home for Shab-e-Baraat, which is being celebrated on the intervening night of 8th and 9th April.

Delhi police trace Nizamuddin Markaz Chief Maulana Saad, will be interrogated after completion of the quarantine period

Markaz chief Maulana Saad has has put himself under self-quarantine and he will be interrogated after the completion of quarantine period

Recently Popular

After PM CARES collects Rs 6,500 crores in just a week, Sonia Gandhi wants it transferred to PMNRF: Here is the real reason

Sonia Gandhi, the current President of the Congress party has asked the Prime Minister to transfer all the funds received under PM CARES, that was set up to fight the Coronavirus pandemic, to the Prime Ministers National Relief Fund (PMNRF)

Indian Army to take over Narela quarantine facility after Tablighi Jamaat attendees defecate in the corridor

Earlier today, two Tablighi Jamaat returnees created a ruckus and defecated in the corridor of the Narela quarantine facility

Did you know that the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund had the President of Congress party in its managing committee

After PM Modi launched PM CARES Fund, a lot has been discussed about similarities and differences between PM CARES Fund and PMNRF

Tablighi Jamaatis’ piece of sh*t: Attendees defecate in corridor at quarantine centre, FIR registered

After reports of molesting nurses and spitting on hospital staff, two Tablighi Jamaat attendees were reportedly found defecating in the hospital corridor.

Bihar: Elderly woman killed by neighbours after fight over switching off lights on 5 April, Sulaiman, Khalil and others absconding

The families had fought when Surendra Mandal, the deceased woman's son had asked his neighbours to switch off the lights for PM Modi's 9baje9minutes call.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Each morning, get an email to keep updated with all the news, opinions and analysis published by OpIndia.

Connect with us

218,084FansLike
276,812FollowersFollow
214,000SubscribersSubscribe
Advertisements