Accuracy in Media

A front-page story in Monday’s Washington Post headlined “Obama sought to prod Facebook on Russia role” has been almost completely retracted, according to a correction issued by the publication.

President Obama reached out to Facebook in 2016 to address false information about politics shared on the site. But he did not mention Russia, which makes the headline and the general premise of the story what Trump would call “fake news.”

Axios first reported that the Post has added substantial information to the Web version of the story.

Fox News reports:

The story detailed how then-President Obama gave Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a “wake-up call” regarding fake news spreading on his social media platform. After reporting that Obama “made a personal appeal to Zuckerberg to take the threat of fake news and political disinformation seriously,” the paper has added that Obama “did not single out Russia specifically.”

The story reported that Obama and his top aides “quietly agonized on how to respond to Russia’s brazen intervention on behalf of the Donald Trump campaign without making matters worse.”

The paper also added a statement from Facebook’s vice president of communications, Elliot Schrage, which it received after the front-page story was published. Schrage told the Post that Obama’s talk with Zuckerberg was about “misinformation and false news” and “did not include any references to possible foreign interference or suggestions about confronting threats to Facebook.”

The initial correction was unclear and only mentioned that it added Schrage’s statement, but this was eventually corrected by the paper’s editorial staff.

“When we updated the story with Facebook’s additional response, we also added the text ‘did not single out Russia specifically’ to foreshadow the Schrage statement, which appears further down in the story. When we added that clause we should have made the attribution clear and we’ve modified the line to do so. Here’s how it now appears: ‘although Facebook representatives say the president did not single out Russia specifically,’” a Washington Post spokeswoman told Fox News.

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