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USA Today, ‘fact-checker’ with Facebook, fails to ‘fact-check’ own content, removes 23 articles after their reporter fabricated sources: Details

Gabriela Miranda, a breaking news reporter who quit the publication a few weeks ago, is alleged to have exploited falsified sources. Ironically, USA Today is Facebook's 'fact-checking partner'.

After an internal investigation revealed that the writer who authored the items misattributed comments and, in some cases, faked interviews and sources, USA Today pulled 23 news stories from its website on Thursday. Gabriela Miranda, a breaking news reporter who quit the publication a few weeks ago, is alleged to have exploited falsified sources. Ironically, USA Today is Facebook’s ‘fact-checking partner’.

In 2020, USA Today had announced that it was enhancing its “fact-checking” network and partnering with Facebook. “As a media organization with unparalleled local-to-national reach, we take our commitment to providing people with truthful information very seriously, and fact-checking is integral to the journalism being done by USA TODAY and in Gannett newsrooms across the country” Maribel Perez Wadsworth, Gannett’s news leader and Publisher of USA TODAY had said. “We also recognize that the distribution of false information on social media is a concerning issue that warrants attention in today’s world, so joining Facebook’s fact-checking program to identify misinformation felt like a natural step for us. We are proud to partner with Facebook on a program with such an important mission.”

Now, USA Today, a ‘fact-checker’ with Facebook, has failed to ‘fact-check’ its own stories. A list of the pieces that were removed was released by USA Today, along with a narrative of the investigation into Miranda, which began with an “external correction request” a few weeks ago. Later, the audit was broadened to include a wide spectrum of her work, with a focus on trending topics and popular stories.

The notification on the USA Today website reads, “After receiving an external correction request, USA TODAY audited the reporting work of Gabriela Miranda. The audit revealed that some individuals quoted were not affiliated with the organizations claimed and appeared to be fabricated. The existence of other individuals quoted could not be independently verified. In addition, some stories included quotes that should have been credited to others.”

Miranda formerly worked for the Gainesville Times, where she covered education and Hispanic issues. She worked for a student magazine Red & Black while attending the University of Georgia, where she graduated in 2021.

The publication promised to enhance its approach for anyone who wishes to file complaints or seek revisions. It also promised to contact institutions if they are mentioned in the piece and to take reasonable procedures to verify source material at all times.

On Thursday, USA Today had a video conference with its staff to discuss the inquiry. Nicole Carroll, the editor-in-chief of USA Today, oversaw the meeting, which included a briefing on some of the issues raised by Miranda’s pieces. According to a person briefed on the investigation, USA Today decided during the investigation that Miranda made attempts to deceive investigators by creating phoney proof of her news content, including interview tapes.

A different story-fabrication issue erupted in 2004 when USA Today accused Pulitzer Prize finalist and writer Jack Kelley of inventing stories and plagiarising content from other magazines. Kelley had resigned and later apologised.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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