Reuters reads ‘Russia’ when Twitter reports suspicious traffic from Saudi Arabia

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When ‘Russian hackers’ and their malign activities feature so much in your reports, it may be difficult to switch to another country. Just ask Reuters, which falsely claimed Twitter found suspicious traffic coming from Russia.

Twitter said on Monday that it found out a certain form on its website could be used by a third party to identify the country of origin of a user, if they had a phone number linked to their account. The vulnerability was fixed last week, but the microblogging service said it identified many requests related to this form “coming from individual IP addresses located in China and Saudi Arabia” and suggested that “state-sponsored actors” may be responsible.

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Reuters reported the find, but apparently its first impulse was to blame Russia for the suspicious traffic. Because the first version said it was coming from China and Russia. A correction was soon issued.

Well, when you are a big news agency, being swift in reporting the news is paramount for staying ahead of the competition. And humans do make errors, nothing wrong with that, as long as they are corrected. One can honestly mistake one country’s name for the other.

But it seems since 2016 too many stories about Russia in the Western media turned out to be completely or partially false. Russia was falsely accused of hacking the US electric grid. A Russian investment fund was falsely said to be under a Congress investigation over ties to Donald Trump officials. A Russian woman was falsely accused of trading sex for access. When many mistakes align in the same direction, they may not simply be mistakes, folks.

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