TheLallantop.com, Hindi news and opinion website owned by the India Today group, which asserts to be a fake-news buster, recently fact-checked a 9-month-old satirical article and passed off the claim as ‘authentic’. The sarcastic article was first posted on Fauxy website, a satire site, in September 2018 wherein the author took a humorous dig at the abundance of food bloggers that seek free meals from restaurants in return for rave reviews.
The satirical article mentioned how a restauranteur in Delhi got a fake food blogger, who had not posted a single food blog and had only come to enjoy a free meal, arrested by calling in the police at the right time.
The satirical piece was widely shared by people, creating ripples on the internet, and forcing many news media outlets like india.com, Firstpost to cover it without verifying its authenticity or paying heed to the sarcastic nature of the website, the Fauxy. The Lallantop posted a Fact-checking analysis of the hilarious article on May 15 on its website to declare the incident had indeed happened in New Delhi.
According to the Lallantop, they conduct ‘workshops’ in collaboration with Facebook to identify fake stories and debunk them. In one such workshop, one of their readers had asked them to fact-check and bust the famous story of a food blogger being arrested in Delhi.
In line with their duty to fact-check, the Lallantop called the Fauxy a foreign website that covered the arrest of a food blogger in Delhi on their website. It fallaciously declared the arrest of the food blogger ‘authentic’ by citing the Hindustan Times report that clearly stated the news as fake.
Note: Realising that article on the arrest of the food blogger was a satire, Lallantop.com has now updated its report and expressed its regrets over misleading its readers by fact-checking a satirical article and blamed the ubiquity of fake news responsible for their error, instead of owning up their mistake of fact-checking a satirical piece.