NEW DELHI (AP) – An official from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said he would file civil and criminal charges against an independent local news website after it reported in a now-retracted story that Meta granted him extraordinary powers to censor Instagram posts.
IT head of the BJP Amit Malviya said he will sue the news website The Wire for publishing “forged documents with a view to malign and tarnish my reputation”.
Malviya’s planned legal action comes after The Wire wrote a series of sensational stories this month that claimed Malviya had been granted special powers by Meta to take down posts on Instagram without any input from the company’s content moderators.
To back this up, The Wire published screenshots of internal reports and emails it said it accessed from sources within Meta. But former Meta employees and whistleblowers, tech experts in India and Silicon Valley, and Meta itself said the claims were untrue and questioned the authenticity of the evidence.
Nonetheless, The Wire doubled down and followed up with more stories claiming the internal emails it accessed were true. Amid mounting criticism, The Wire retracted its articles and opened an internal review of its reporting and editorial processes. The news website said it found inconsistencies in its stories but stopped short of saying they were fabricated.