- Cointelegraph’s Editor-in-chief Kristina Lucrezia has blamed societal pressure for the posting of a Bitcoin ETF rumor which turned out to be fake news
- The outlet posted on X that a Bitcoin ETF had been approved, causing Bitcoin to spike $2,000, but it was fake news
- Lucrezia blamed the pressure of “being first” for her outlet’s inability to fact check
Cointelegraph’s Editor-in-chief Kristina Lucrezia has blamed the pressure of “being first” for her outlet reporting a Bitcoin ETF as fact yesterday. Bitcoin raced from $28,000 to $30,000 when Cointelegraph tweeted that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had approved Blackrock’s EFT application, liquidating $100 million in leverage trades, only for the price to drop right back to its starting point once it was revealed that the story was not genuine. Lucrezia said the episode had been “disastrous” and blamed the need for outlets to be first with news in today’s highly pressurized world as to why the message went out unverified.
What Goes Up Must Come Down
Bitcoin had already broken $28,000 yesterday when Cointelegraph put out a succinct X post:
The price of Bitcoin shot up immediately to exactly $30,000 on Binance before the first doubts started to creep in, with influential individuals such as James Seyffart questioning the source:
I believe this to be fake news.
— James Seyffart (@JSeyff) October 16, 2023
This was followed shortly afterward by confirmation that it was indeed fake news, which the price dropping right back to where it came from as quickly as it had moved. The quick up and down liquidated over $100 million in leverage traded positions, which is galling enough anyway but when it’s based on fake news it must be ten times harder to stomach. It is, however, another example of why most people should not leverage trade.
Cointelegraph added the word “reportedly” to the end of its tweet once it was debunked, which it somehow thought would absolve it of blame despite it being the one that reported the news in the first place. Interestingly, anti-crypto outlet Reuters also raced to publish a piece based on the unverified headline before scrapping it, bringing back in mind the episode from 2021 where Reuters treated the fake news of Walmart accepting Litecoin as the real deal and blaming the crypto industry when it was exploded instead of its own failure to confirm the story.
With scorn raining down on it from all sides, Cointelegraph deleted the tweet and announced an investigation into how it had happened in the first place. This investigation revealed that an employee took a headline over the approved Bitcoin ETF from a Telegram crypto rumors group and treated it as fact with no third-party checks. Two other employees then elevated the rumor to the outlet’s X feed, again without any third-party checks, in a rush to be the one to break the story. And we know what happened next.
Editor-in-chief Blames Society
Lucrezia was speaking at an event yesterday when she addressed the burning issue of the Bitcoin ETF story:
Wow , LIVE from Dubai ! so @Cointelegraph Editor In chief on a panel just now in Dubai with @MarioNawfal. Sounds like she is totally deflecting responsibility of good journalism after they wiped out USD 100 million on BTC saying it’s basically the readers fault we didn’t check… pic.twitter.com/Epz33mJc3Q
— Tim WEB3 (@timweb3_) October 16, 2023
Lucrezia admitted that the episode had been “disastrous” for the outlet, but then staggeringly went on to blame not the company’s shoddy journalistic processes which allow unverified rumors to be presented as fact in order to be first out of the blocks, but society:
“This is what happens when we are having constant pressure to be the first with every news. And this is not a problem of journalism per se, it’s a problem of the society…where if you’re not the first, you’re the last.”
There are so many things wrong with this statement on so many levels that it requires its own article on journalistic morals, but the idea that a news editor is blaming society and social media for the utter lack of fact-checking in her own organization is mind-blowing. The desire to be first when it comes to journalism is natural, and a pressure that should not come as a surprise to an editor-in-chief, but the idea that the very core of reporting, that you present the facts, has to suffer because of this pressure is simply laughable.
The question of whether the SEC will have taken a dim view of the Cointelegraph farce is, obviously, something we can only guess at (unless we’re Cointelegraph in which we present it as fact), but given that this was, apparently, an error in reporting standards of one outlet rather than active price manipulation should be a mitigating factor.
One thing we do know is that a Bitcoin ETF is not priced in.