Reuters was forced to retract an article published Wednesday morning after the source for the information turned out to be a fake news website.
Early Wednesday morning, Reuters published an article claiming Saudi Arabia’s consul in Istanbul was fired and was being investigated. Reuters claimed the source for this information was the Saudi online newspaper Sabq.
The original article contained just two paragraphs and did not expand on the headline, but claimed the information came from “an official statement carried by Sabq newspaper on Wednesday.”
“The Saudi online newspaper did not give details of those violations which the consul Mohammad al-Otaibi is being investigated for,” the report concluded.
A link to the original story now contains a retraction note:
Story headlined “Saudi consul in Istanbul relieved of post, to be investigated-report” is withdrawn. The report did not appear on Sabq newspaper’s website as reported. There will be no replacement story.
Ahmed Al Omran, a reporter for Financial Times, posted screenshots of the original Reuters article and the fake news website on which the report was based.
The fake website impersonates a former version of the Saudi online newspaper Sabq. At least one major news outlet — the Daily Mail — fell for the fake report, including a mention at the top of their article about an alleged audio recording of the death of Jamal Khashoggi.