Clarification on sharing false spot Bitcoin ETF news
Dear Cointelegraph readers,
We are incredibly grateful for the support and trust you have placed in our publication over the last 10 years. We strive to deliver the most thoughtful, engaging and impactful news affecting the cryptocurrency space.
Earlier today, during routine coverage, Cointelegraph’s social media team posted a message on X without prior editorial approval stating that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission had approved BlackRock’s iShares spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund, or ETF. This was false, the result of misinformation. The news lead originated from an unconfirmed screenshot posted by an X user who claimed it was from the Bloomberg Terminal.
Cointelegraph did not ultimately publish an article with this incorrect information, but we deeply regret posting this in error on X and the impact it has caused. An internal investigation revealed that our standard procedure for posting breaking news on social media, wherein sources are required to be verified before posting to social media, was not followed.
The timeline of events is as follows:
13:17:30 UTC: The editorial team was alerted to the rumored news through a Telegram channel that Cointelegraph employees use to discover stories that might be of interest to readers (Figure 1). The full conversation is shared below.
13:19:27 UTC: Employee 1 reposted the text of the lead shared by a Telegram account that has since been deleted (Figure 2) to an internal Slack channel (Figure 3).
13:24:16 UTC: In an effort to publish the developments as soon as possible, Employee 2 posted the report to X without prior confirmation of the source’s veracity from the editor. This violates Cointelegraph’s social media process, in which source confirmation and editorial approval are required before posting (Figure 4).
13:48:38 UTC: Readers reported the issue to Cointelegraph via social media channels (Figure 5).
13:52:19 UTC: In an internal Cointelegraph chat, Employee 1 flagged that the source could not be located (Figure 6).
13:54:14 UTC: Employee 3 from Cointelegraph edited the message on X to clarify that the information was unconfirmed (Figure 7).
14:03:42 UTC: Cointelegraph reached out to BlackRock and the Bloomberg Terminal and removed the post (Figure 8).
14:32:23 UTC: After receiving confirmation from BlackRock that the report was incorrect, Cointelegraph retracted the initial tweet and issued the following statement (Figure 9):
To ensure that something like this does not happen again, the Cointelegraph team is thoroughly auditing and reviewing our social media management processes, especially around the authentication of breaking news before a post can be published. We are having conversations with all of the employees involved, and we will make all necessary structural changes.
This incident reminds the Cointelegraph team that our actions have serious ramifications across the cryptocurrency community. We are committed to learning from these mistakes and adhering to the highest standards of journalism.
The Cointelegraph team