The Economist tweeted, “Should transgender people be sterilised before they are recognised?” That is the first line of its March 14 story headlined, “Japan says transgender people must be sterilised.”
Then, the Economist deleted that tweet, saying it “mischaracterised our article on transgender rights in Japan,” and said “sorry” to readers.
“The article explores in detail a question that was put to Japan’s Supreme Court,” a follow-up Economist tweet read. “Our tweets often use a line from the articles they link to. We were wrong to use the first line of this article out of its context. Sorry”
iMediaEthics wrote to the Economist for more information about what went wrong. A spokesperson pointed iMediaEthics to the Economist’s blogpost about the tweet, which explained the Economist’s staff drafts several tweets per story for promotion on social media.
“This process still produced a poorly judged tweet this week, about the transgender article above,” the blogpost read. “We used the first line of the article, a question, as the tweet. Sometimes questions can give an idea of what’s in the article; in this case, the tweet implied that we thought it was a fair question open for debate, rather than a question asked of Japan’s court as part of a suit brought by a transgender person. We sincerely apologise.”
The Economist continued, “That error of judgment was compounded by an error of process: the tweet was not checked by two people. We have since reviewed our processes and made changes to them to ensure that social-media posts are appropriately checked.”
Despite the tweeted “sorry,” many readers were upset saying it was “100% irresponsible journalism.”
Hat Tip: Steve Bien-Aime