Fake News Ban Targets Political Speech, Sexual Content

— Germany’s recent fake news ban is already being abused by would-be censors

The Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz (NetzDG) law, which came into force in October, requires social media websites to remove “fake news” and “hate speech” or risk fines of up to 50 million euros (40 million pounds).

While intended to stop the spread of disinformation and hateful rhetoric online, recently published “local law” complaints show that would-be censors are using NetzDG to target all variety of content, including mainstream news stories, sexual words and images, an anti-Nazi online forum, and criticism of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and of the NetzDG law itself.

That’s according to the Lumen Database, which archives online takedown requests.

Anti-NetzDG campaign: “Think ban on criticism” (source)

German author Martin Hilpert is among the first to be targeted for allegedly committing “criminal offences” under NetzDG.

On his Google Plus profile, Hilpert has published dozens of posts criticising Chancellor Merkel’s immigration policies and calling for her immediate dismissal.

source

In October, Google received a request to remove “problematic” content from Hilpert’s account on the basis that his political views allegedly constitute “hate speech or political extremism” under NetzDG.

He’s not the only one in the cross hairs.

Two prominent German news publishers, centre-right newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and tech website Heise online, have both had similar complaints lodged against them.

The complaint against FAZ states that the newspaper engaged in “harmful or dangerous acts” for a story about NATO, while the complaint against Heise states that the tech website engaged in “hate speech or political extremism” for publishing concerns by the EU Commission that NetzDG could lead to “possible abuse by governments seeking to limit freedom of expression.”

source

From there, the censorious slope only gets slippier.

Last month, a Google Plus forum called NaziLeaks that exposes and ridicules neo-Nazis online was targeted for “discrimination, insults, defamation” and for being “extremely political.”

A separate takedown request for a photo of a snowman dressed like Hitler (allegedly containing “terrorist or unconstitutional content”) is probably unlikely to win over skeptics of the new bán.

source

Next on the list of offending items, a perennial favourite of the would-be censor: sex.

Targets include a book of semi-nude photos of model Emily Ratajkowski (“sexual discrimination”), a forum for “friends to talk and exchange” that includes a soft focus nude photo (“pornographic”), and a public invitation for sex (“indecent”).

source

While the few examples included here are all still available to view online, hundreds more aren’t.

As reported by Politico, last month Twitter deleted tweets by satirical magazine Titanic, comedian Sophie Passmann, and far-right politician Beatrix von Storch after receiving local law complaints.

It’s unclear how social media platforms determine what constitutes fake news.

HuffPost’s Blogger Platform: A Brief History of Fake News

— The HuffPost’s discontinued blogger platform was used to publish politically motivated fake news articles and unvetted opinion pieces. Here are a few of the most notable examples.

Last week, the HuffPost announced it was ending its contributor platform, which permitted anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection to self-publish articles on the HuffPost website.

The decision to shutter the platform followed a story first published on this blog, and subsequently reported by The Daily Beast, about a now-deleted paid puff piece that was intended to burnish the reputation of former Donald Trump advisor Felix Sater.

Via “HuffPost, Breaking From Its Roots, Ends Unpaid Contributions” by Sydney Ember, The New York Times, January 18, 2018:

Since its founding nearly 13 years ago, The Huffington Post has relied heavily on unpaid contributors, whose ranks included aspiring writers, citizen journalists and celebrities from the Rolodex of the site’s co-founder Arianna Huffington.

…On Thursday, it said it was immediately dissolving its self-publishing contributors platform — which has mushroomed to include 100,000 writers — in what is perhaps the most significant break from the past under its editor in chief, Lydia Polgreen…

[Recently] a contributor with the byline Waqas KH published an article about Felix Sater, an associate of President Trump, that he had been paid to post. The site has since deleted the article.

It’s not the only time the HuffPost has deleted a contributor’s fake news story.

— In June 2017, the website deleted an article by Shakir Akorede, a self-proclaimed “expert copywriter” who falsely claimed that Trump’s fundraising committee had paid a non-existent PR firm $30,000 to publish promotional material about Trump’s presidential campaign on popular social media website Reddit.

source

Via “It Wasn’t Just The Russians That Made Trump Win” by Shakir Akorede, HuffPost, June 4, 2017:

A private source from Trump’s campaign has leaked an invoice from Oak Park Alliance, a high-profile marketing agency specializing in digital marketing. Among the largest charges on the invoice is a $30,000 charge for “30 front-page posts — /r/the_donald.” Among Reddit users, “the_donald” is a well-known community that focused on championing Donald Trump throughout the campaign season. Also included on the invoice are several services, such as downvotes on subreddits supporting democratic presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, publications of high-profile articles, content creation, and one listed as “damage control.”

Via “HuffPost Deletes Blog Falling for Highly Suspect ‘Leaked Trump Memo’” by Alex Griswold, The Washington Beacon, June 15, 2017:

“It Wasn’t Just the Russians That Made Trump Win,” HuffPost contributor Shakir Akorede wrote on Sunday. Akorede alleged that “a private source from Trump’s campaign has leaked an invoice from Oak Park Alliance, a high-profile marketing agency specializing in digital marketing”…

But there is no public record of an Oak Park Alliance receiving a disbursement from the Donald Trump campaign in October 2016. What’s more, the memo misspells the name of the campaign (omitting the “for” in Donald J. Trump For President, Inc.) and only gives a P.O. box address for the Oak Park Alliance.

For a supposedly “high-profile marketing firm,” there is also no evidence of Oak Park Alliance’s existence outside of its barebones website, which was registered in 2014 and updated a week before the HuffPost blog post went live. The website was registered by Domain Protection Services, a service that registers domains on the behalf of clients who want to keep their identities anonymous.

— In May, the website deleted an article by H.A. Goodman, an anti-Hillary Clinton political pundit who perpetuated a debunked conspiracy theory that connected the unsolved murder of Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich to the DNC e-mail leak of 2016.

source

Via “Why Is It Blasphemous for Kim Dotcom to Testify Under Oath in Congress?” by H.A. Goodman, HuffPost, May 26, 2017:

Because I respect The Huffington Post, I’ll keep this piece short, and to the point; nobody is claiming anyone caused the death of Seth Rich.

On the other hand, more information on Seth Rich’s death is needed.

If indeed Seth Rich was the WikiLeaks source, we need to know, or at least evaluate added evidence. It’s unheard of to simply disregard new evidence, or prevent a witness from testifying under oath, even in “botched robbery” cases…

Again, I’m not claiming anyone in particular killed Seth Rich.

What I’m saying is new evidence, or the possibility of new evidence is vital to finding out what happened to Seth Rich.

Via “The Seth Rich Conspiracy Theory” by Bethania Palma, Snopes, May 25, 2017:

Seth Rich was shot and killed on 10 July 2016 near his home in Washington, D.C. in what Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) investigators believe to have been a botched robbery, due to a string of similar crimes in his neighborhood at that time. In an e-mail, MPD confirmed that is still the suspected motive:

At this point in the investigation, it is believed that Seth Rich was the victim of an attempted robbery. MPD does not currently have evidence to suggest otherwise; should anyone be in possession of such evidence, they are urged to turn it over to the police.

There is no evidence to date that thousands of e-mails were found on Rich’s computer linking him to WikiLeaks, or that he was killed as part of a conspiracy or coverup.

— In November, the website deleted an article by contributor David Fagin, who perpetuated false claims that a now-infamous photo of Al Franken, in which the former senator appeared to grope radio broadcaster Leeann Tweeden while she slept, had been staged.

source

Via “The Framing of Al Franken by Two Trump Supporters; and the Dems Are Playing Right Along” by David Fagin, HuffPost, November 17, 2017:

Leeann Tweeden, a former Playboy Playmate who’s spent half her life nude, or nearly nude, and the other half appearing on shows such as Hannity, also just happens to be a Trump supporter, as well. Isn’t it interesting how she’s decided to share her nightmarish tale of horror and humiliation in the form of an unrequited kiss on behalf of a liberal-leaning Senator with us, now?…

[The] photographer who took the photo in which Franken is supposedly ‘groping’ Tweeden while she sleeps says it was staged and that she wanted him to do it. Granted, this could be a Facebook hoax, or another bit of fake news, but if it’s true…

Via “Did Franken Photog Say Groping Image Was Staged?” by Dan Evon, Snopes, November 17, 2017:

The person who took the picture of Al Franken and Leeann Tweeden has not been identified, nor have they issued a statement regarding the incident. Which means there is no credible claim the image was staged, that Tweeden was “playing dead,” or that “she wanted him to ‘revive’ her” in the picture. This quote was made up out of the whole cloth in an apparent attempt to discredit Tweeden and her account.  

Last year, the HuffPost also deleted a number of controversial unvetted opinion pieces.

— In February 2017, the website deleted an article by René Zografos, a Norwegian photographer who said he agreed with Trump’s closed-border view on immigration and that Sweden’s open-door immigration policy had caused crime rates to rise in that country.

source

Via “Trump is Absolutely Right About Sweden” by René Zografos, HuffPost, February 22, 2017:

Many journalists around the world are eager to condemn Donald Trump no matter what. When he tweeted about immigration in Sweden few days ago, the social media exploded. Most of the opponent said that Trump has made up the immigration problem Sweden have. They are wrong.

Only hours later there was a riot of violence and destructions by immigrants in the capitol of Sweden, Stockholm. The police was forced to shoot with ammunition to put and end to it. In Malmö, another city south in Sweden they have struggle with gang violence and lawlessness for years. So when Trump talk about that Sweden have an immigration problem he is actually spot on.

It’s well known for Scandinavians and other Europeans that liberal immigration comes with drugs, rapes, gang wars, robbery and violence. Additional to that we see the respective nations cultures fading away, for good and for bad.

Via “Riot Breaks Out in Immigrant Suburb of Stockholm, Sweden” by David Emery, Snopes, February 22, 2017:

Days after President Trump referenced a nonexistent instance of immigrant violence in Sweden, a riot broke out in a predominantly immigrant district of Stockholm…

Sweden has long been in the forefront of European countries accepting refugees from elsewhere in the world, prompting those opposed to open-door immigration policies to claim the influx of foreigners has caused crime rates to rise in the country. The actual statistics don’t bear that out, however. Despite a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers in 2015, an analysis cited by the Washington Post found that fewer than one percent of all crimes in Sweden during the final three months of 2015 were committed by refugees.

— In June, the website deleted an article by contributor Jason Fuller, who called for the prosecution and execution of Trump for treason.

source

Via “Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice” by Jason Fuller, HuffPost, June 11, 2017:

Impeachment and removal from office are only the first steps; for America to be redeemed, Donald Trump must be prosecuted for treason and — if convicted in a court of law — executed…

[The] interference of the Russian government to circumvent our democratic procedures for electing the President of the United States is an act of war. There is no other way to characterize it; this was an all-out attack by the government of Russia on our democratic process, the very foundation of our country. This elevates Trump’s simple obstruction of justice to high treason under the Constitution.

Via “HuffPo Pulls Article Calling For ‘Ultimate Punishment’ Of Trump” by Will Ricciardella, The Daily Caller, June 6, 2017:

The Huffington Post pulled a piece calling for the “execution” of President Donald Trump published Saturday by contributor Jason Fuller…

Fuller’s “ultimate punishment” is not only reserved for the president, but also for “everyone assisting in his agenda,” including Republican Reps. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and White House strategist Steve Bannon. Fuller claims that “all must face justice” by being tried, convicted and ultimately executed for treason…

In light of the shooting of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, two Capitol Hill police officers, a congressional staffer and a lobbyist, concerns about over-the-top political rhetoric are at an all time high.

If you visit the link where his diatribe used to be on HuffPost, you’ll receive the message that “this post from The Huffington Post Contributor Platform is no longer available on our site.” You can recover the cached version here.

As of publication, the HuffPost’s contributor platform is still available in Canada and the U.K.

The Art of the Steal

— Did Trump plagiarise content from CNN and other major news networks on defunct Trump University blog?

Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has repeatedly accused the news media, particularly U.S. network CNN, of reporting so-called “fake news.”

However, it appears that from 2006-2010 Trump plagiarised content from around a dozen major news publishers, including CNN, USA Today, and the New York Times on his now-defunct Trump University blog (later re-named the Trump Initiative), a weekly column in which the former real estate mogul gave advice and opinions to budding entrepreneurs.

Here are a few of the most conspicuous examples (a full list is available by clicking here).


1a. From “Honestly, All of Us Are Liars” by Jocelyn Voo, CNN, January 21, 2008:

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
Expert: Two kinds of lies – to help yourself, to protect others’ feelings
• People often tell little lies every day
Expert: Most white lies are told to strangers
Serious lies most often told to protect relationship

Admit it: At some point, you’ve lied. Maybe it was the time you told your aunt that her hand-knit holiday sweater was “exactly what you wanted.” Or when you explained to human resources that you’d missed the big company meeting because your grandmother died … again.

Take heart, though; you’re not Machiavellian. You’re just normal.

[…]

Most white lies (for instance, a person trying to present himself as more knowledgeable) are told to strangers.

Serious lies, she found, overwhelmingly are told to or by people close to the teller (such as a parent lying to her child about how sick a grandparent is), most often to protect that relationship.

[…]

Lying is not exactly extraordinary. In 2004, DePaulo asked college students at the University of Santa Barbara and members of the surrounding community to record every lie they told in one week. The results, published in “The Social Psychology of Good and Evil,” showed that college students lied at least once to 38 percent of the people they interacted with. Community members lied to 30 percent.

[…]

“In the abstract, it’s very easy to say, ‘Oh, we value honesty, and you should never lie,’” says DePaulo. But “sometimes in our real lives, our valuing of honesty clashes with something else we also value, like wanting to be gracious or kind or compassionate.”

In these ways, it’s unrealistic to be a completely Honest Abe.

1b. From “Honestly, All of Us Are Liars” by Donald Trump, Trump University, February 18, 2008:

Admit it. At some point it your life, you’ve lied. Maybe you tell white lies on a daily basis. Maybe you tell some all-out doozies. Whatever the case, don’t worry about it too much. You’re normal.

Experts say there are two kinds of lies – the lies that you tell to help yourself and the lies you tell to protect other people’s feelings, like when you tell someone they look good in that terrible pink-and-green tie.

Serious lies are most often told to protect relationships. That’s when people lie about cheating, for example. Obviously, they don’t want to get caught and they want to keep their marriages intact. Most white lies, however, are told to strangers.

Lying is not exactly extraordinary. During a recent study, people were asked to record every single lie they told in one week. The results showed that college students lied at least once to nearly 40 percent of the people they interacted with. The rest of the people lied to nearly one-third of the people. It’s amazing that lying is so second-nature to people.

So, I think it’s nice to say, “Don’t lie,” but it’s just not realistic. We do it to save other people’s feelings. We do it to protect ourselves. We do it to get what we want.

And sometimes it works.

2a. From “CEOs vouch for Waiter Rule: Watch how people treat staff” by Del Jones, USA Today, April 14, 2006:

You can tell a lot about a person by the way he or she treats the waiter.

[…]

And beware of anyone who pulls out the power card to say something like, “I could buy this place and fire you,” or “I know the owner and I could have you fired.” Those who say such things have revealed more about their character than about their wealth and power.

[…]

People view waiters as their temporary personal employees. Therefore, how executives treat waiters probably demonstrates how they treat their actual employees, says Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes, a former waitress and postal clerk, who says she is a demanding boss but never shouts at or demeans an employee.

[…]

Holtzman grew up in the coal-mining town of Wilkes-Barre, Pa., and in the 1950s saw opportunity as a waiter 90 miles away in the Catskill Mountains, where customers did not tip until the end of the week. When they tipped poorly, he would say: “Sir, will you and your wife be tipping separately?”

2b. From “The Waiter Rule” by Donald Trump, Trump University, April 28, 2006:

Occasionally in the business world, I’ve heard people refer to something called “The Waiter Rule.” Simply put, how you treat a waiter or a waitress reveals a lot about your character. It may sound insignificant, but over the years I’ve found respect to play a significant role in wealth creation.

You would be amazed at how poorly some people treat waiters and waitresses. They yell at them if they forget an order or spill a drink. They threaten to have them fired, or even demand to speak to a supervisor. Their actions speak volumes and reveal more about their character than anything they could say or do in the most impressive business meetings or boardrooms.

[…]

How you treat a waiter demonstrates how you would most likely treat your actual employees. It shows the true makeup of your personality and your true disposition. You might be a demanding boss, but it doesn’t mean you have to be a demeaning and nasty one.

So think twice the next time you sit down at a table and get ready to order. And don’t forget to leave a big tip.

3a. From “One ‘Bad Apple’ Does Spoil the Whole Workplace” by JoAnne Allen, Reuters, February 12, 2007:

One “bad apple” can spread negative behavior like a virus to bring down officemates or destroy a good team, according to a new study examining conflict in the workplace.

Negative behavior outweighs positive behavior, so a bad apple can spoil the whole barrel, but one or two good workers can’t “unspoil” it, researchers at the University of Washington said in the current issue of the journal Research in Organizational Behavior.

“Companies need to move quickly to deal with such problems because the negativity of just one individual is pervasive and destructive and can spread quickly,” said co-author Terence Mitchell, a professor of management and organization.

If a bad apple slips through screening in the hiring process, he or she should be placed to work alone as much as possible, the study’s lead author, William Felps, said.

3b. From “One Bad Apple” by Donald Trump, Trump University, February 25, 2007:

In nearly every workplace, there’s “one bad apple” – someone whose negative attitude is so apparent that it’s a deterrent to everyone else in the office.

It turns out that the old adage is true. One bad apple can truly spoil the whole barrel. A person with a negative attitude can spread those negative feelings like a dangerous virus, bringing down the rest of the office and destroying an otherwise healthy and well-functioning team.

A new study from researchers at the University of Washington examined conflict in the workplace. It found that negative behavior has much more of an impact than positive behavior. So while negative people can spoil an entire office environment, a couple of positive good workers can’t “unspoil” it.

“Companies need to move quickly to deal with such problems because the negativity of just one individual is pervasive and destructive and can spread quickly,” said co-author Terence Mitchell, a professor of management and organization.

[…]

Ideally, bad apples shouldn’t be hired in the first place. When you’re hiring, avoid people who in general appear combative or disagreeable. It’s a sure omen of negativity in the future.

But if it’s too late and there’s already a negative person in place in your organization, the best you can do is keep him or her working alone as much as possible. The less interaction those negative people have with the rest of your team, the better. That way, their toxic attitudes won’t spread.

4a. From “Italy Posts Income Details on Web,” BBC News, May 1, 2008:

There has been outrage in Italy after the outgoing government published every Italian’s declared earnings and tax contributions on the internet.

The tax authority’s website was inundated by people curious to know how much their neighbours, celebrities or sports stars were making.

The Italian treasury suspended the website after a formal complaint from the country’s privacy watchdog.

The information was put on the site with no warning for nearly 24 hours.

[…]

But it was also hugely popular, and within hours the site was overwhelmed and impossible to access.

The finance ministry described the move as a bid to improve transparency.

Deputy Economic Minister Vincenzo Visco said he could not understand what all the fuss was about.

4b. From “Italy Posts Salaries Online” by Donald Trump, Trump University, June 16, 2008:

There was a lot of outrage in Italy recently after the government published every citizen’s income on the Internet. The tax authority’s website was swamped with people snooping to see how much their neighbors and co-workers and celebrities earned.

Within hours of the site going up, it was so overwhelmed that it was nearly impossible to access.

But the site stayed up for nearly 24 hours until it was suspended after a formal complaint was filed. Although critics complained that it was an outrageous breach of privacy, some government officials said they didn’t understand what all the fuss was about.

5a. From “Poll Finds Growing Majority of Americans Avoiding Housing Market,” The New York Times, April 14, 2008:

A growing majority of Americans say they will not buy a home anytime soon, the latest sign of increasing pessimism about the country’s housing crisis, a poll showed Monday.

In a vivid sketch of how the sputtering real estate market is causing distress throughout the country, the Associated Press-AOL Money & Finance poll found that more than a quarter of homeowners worry that their home will lose value over the next two years.

Fully one in seven mortgage holders fear they will not be able to make their monthly payments on time over the next six months.

[…]

The growing reluctance to dip into the housing market seems to stem partly from worry that housing prices will continue falling – good if you are buying a house but bad if you have to sell one.

[…]

Gus Faucher, director of macroeconomics for Moody’s Economy.com, a consulting firm, estimated that nine million homeowners owe more on a home than it is worth. He said his company believed home sales were at or near bottom and home values would continue to fall until early next year.

5b. From “Afraid to Buy” by Donald Trump, Trump University, May 12, 2008:

It’s hardly a surprise but in the midst of today’s terrible economy and the nation’s housing crisis, the majority of Americans say they don’t plan to buy a home anytime soon.

In fact, more than a quarter of homeowners worry that their home will lose value over the next couple of years, and one in seven mortgage holders are afraid that they won’t be able to make their monthly payments in time over the next six months.

People are worried that housing prices will continue to fall which is good news if you want to buy but obviously terrible if you have a house to sell.

In addition, we have record-high foreclosure rates and an estimated 9 million homeowners actually owe more on their homes than they are actually worth. If you’re in that situation, the best thing you can do is to sit tight if you can and try to weather out the storm.

A different version of this item appeared on this blog on March 25, 2017.

The Art of the Steal

Did Trump plagiarise from “fake news” network CNN and other media networks on defunct Trump University blog?

Since taking office in January, the Trump administration has repeatedly accused US cable network CNN of reporting “fake news.”

However, it appears that in 2008 Trump plagiarised articles originally published to the CNN website on his now-defunct Trump University blog, a weekly column in which Trump gave advice to budding entrepreneurs.

For instance, in February 2008 Trump copied from an article published to CNN the previous month titled – somewhat ironically – “Honestly, All of Us Are Liars” by health and lifestyle reporter Jocelyn Voo.

On the Trump University blog, Trump wrote: “Admit it. At some point it your life, you’ve lied. Maybe you tell white lies on a daily basis. Maybe you tell some all-out doozies. Whatever the case, don’t worry about it too much. You’re normal.”

source

On the CNN news website the previous month, Voo had written this strikingly similar paragraph: “Admit it: At some point, you’ve lied. Maybe it was the time you told your aunt that her hand-knit holiday sweater was ‘exactly what you wanted.’ Or when you explained to human resources that you’d missed the big company meeting because your grandmother died … again. Take heart, though; you’re not Machiavellian. You’re just normal.”

source

Without attribution, Trump also copied elements from another article by Voo titled “Young Women Choosing Careers Over Love” – and in two later blog entries¹ copied from articles originally published to Reuters.²

In June last year, the New York Times reported that at least 20 pages of a Trump University textbook were copied from a book in a 1997 set titled “Real Estate Mastery System.”

In November, Trump agreed to pay $25 million to settle a number of lawsuits brought by former Trump University students who alleged they were defrauded out of thousands of dollars in tuition fees.

On that note, here’s a rather fitting quote from Trump’s old blog:

…I think it’s nice to say, “Don’t lie,” but it’s just not realistic. We do it to save other people’s feelings. We do it to protect ourselves. We do it to get what we want.

And sometimes it works.


¹Available to read by clicking here and here.
²Available to read by clicking here and here.

The Sun on Julian Assange – Fake News or Honest Mistake?

The Sun newspaper retracts claim Julian Assange allegedly sexually assaulted two men – but not before WikiLeaks Task Force cries “fake news”

Earlier this month, The Sun newspaper published “Who is Julian Assange, why does Pamela Anderson visit him in the Ecuadorian embassy and what is Wikileaks?” about exiled Aussie journalist and founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange, who in 2010 was accused of sexually assaulting two women during a visit to Sweden.

The March 8, 2017 article, by reporter Holly Christodoulou, incorrectly stated that Assange “was in Sweden in August 2010 to speak at a conference when he met two men and had sex with them.”

Via the Wayback Machine:

source

The WikiLeaks Task Force, an official WikiLeaks Twitter account set up in October 2016 to “correct misinformation” about its namesake organisation, called the article “#FakeNews” – suggesting that WikiLeaks believes The Sun intentionally fabricated the assertion that Assange allegedly sexually assaulted two men.

source

On my request, The Sun immediately corrected the error, and today added this correction notice to the bottom of the article: “A previous version of this story said that Assange had sex with two men who later accused him of rape. In actual fact they were women. The story was corrected on 10th March.”

source

In my follow-up e-mail to The Sun, I asked about WikiLeaks’ fake news claim.

A Sun spokesperson said: This was an honest editorial mistake that we corrected as soon as it had been flagged, and added a note at the bottom of the article reflecting that change. This error was absolutely not deliberate – as evidenced by older articles on the Sun website about Mr Assange stating clearly the rape claimants were women.”

I’ve reached out to Assange for comment.