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Clarification on sharing false spot Bitcoin ETF news

by Mark Mendoza

Title: Cointelegraph’s Regrettable Error in Reporting BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF Approval

For a decade, Cointelegraph has been a trusted source for cryptocurrency news, aiming to provide insightful and impactful coverage. However, a recent incident involving the publication’s erroneous report on BlackRock’s iShares spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval has raised concerns and highlighted the need for improved editorial processes.

The Misinformation Incident:
During routine coverage, Cointelegraph’s social media team prematurely posted unverified information on X, stating that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission had approved BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF. This misinformation originated from an unconfirmed screenshot shared by a user on X, claiming it was sourced from Bloomberg Terminal.

Timeline of Events:
The timeline reveals how this false news made its way to Cointelegraph’s social media channels without proper verification or editorial approval:

1. 13:17:30 UTC: An employee discovered the rumored news through a Telegram channel used by Cointelegraph employees for story discovery.
2. 13:19:27 UTC: The lead shared on Telegram was reposted by Employee 1 to an internal Slack channel.
3. 13:24:16 UTC: Employee 2, in an effort to expedite the news release, posted the report on X without confirming the source’s authenticity, bypassing Cointelegraph’s established social media process.
4. 13:48:38 UTC: Readers reported the issue to Cointelegraph via social media channels.
5. 13:52:19 UTC: Employee 1 acknowledged in an internal chat that the source couldn’t be located.
6. 13:54:14 UTC: Employee 3 edited the message on X to clarify that the information was unconfirmed.
7. 14:03:42 UTC: Cointelegraph reached out to BlackRock and the Bloomberg Terminal, ultimately removing the post.
8. 14:32:23 UTC: After BlackRock confirmed the report was incorrect, Cointelegraph retracted the initial tweet and issued a statement.

The Consequences and Lessons Learned:
Cointelegraph deeply regrets the impact caused by this error and recognizes the significance of its actions within the cryptocurrency community. As a response, the publication is conducting a thorough audit of its social media management processes. This review seeks to address the authentication of breaking news before publishing and implement necessary structural changes to prevent similar incidents in the future.

The incident involving the misreporting of BlackRock’s Bitcoin ETF approval exposes the need for stringent editorial processes at Cointelegraph. Acknowledging the serious ramifications of misinformation in the cryptocurrency community, Cointelegraph is committed to learning from this mistake and upholding the highest standards of journalism. With the implementation of improved procedures and increased attention to source verification, Cointelegraph is determined to regain the trust of its readers and continue delivering reliable and impactful news in the cryptocurrency space.

The Cointelegraph Team

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