Media & PR

My email to Mashable: please kill the false story about 80% of burglars using social media

Regarding the widely reported but false claim that a surveys showed 80% of British burglars using social media to decide who to burgle and variants on that theme…

Hi,

I’ve tried getting in touch via Twitter and posting a comment to highlight how you’re run a story based on a false statistic, but not had any response – so I hope you don’t mind me also emailing you.

I have no particular interest in the story, other than I don’t think scare stories based on false information should be left to linger online and as someone who has previously had a high level of trust in stories seen on Mashable, I have found the (apparent) unwillingness to correct an error rather disappointing.

But to the substance: my comment at http://mashable.com/2011/11/01/social-theivery-infographic/#comment-17783897 is pretty self-explanatory. I can appreciate you taking the infographic in good faith – and I’ve been caught out that way in the past – but if you look at the source data the claim repeated in the story about the 80% figure is false and the fact that it is false undermines the whole tenor of the piece (e.g. the reference to “high numbers”).

So I hope you’ll show due respect to readers and the truth (if that isn’t too high faluting a way of putting it!) and fully correct the story?

By the way, I’ve also had no joy getting a response from the company that produced the originally faulty infographic, so if they have been in touch with you to pitch the story, perhaps you would be so good as to encourage them to correct the story too?

Best wishes,

Mark

UPDATE: An impressively prompt reply by email – they’re looking into this.

UPDATE 2: … but the correction they’ve now added is a little underwhelming, not being prominent and not involving removing or marking as striked out any of the wrong text though it does link through to the original survey.

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