BuzzFeed has added an editor's note to a story posted Wednesday night to reflect doubts about the story's sources. "The people interviewed in this story have since claimed online they were dishonest in interviews," the note reads. "BuzzFeed cannot verify the accuracy of their statements or their involvement."
The story, A Racist Gamer Group Has Been Posing As Baltimore Looters On Twitter, focuses on a group called ColorCabal, which BuzzFeed reports is using social media—and the hashtag #BaltimoreLootCrew—to spread old photos, claiming they are Baltimore looters, bragging about taking advantage of rioting in the city to steal.
The BuzzFeed story quotes two self-described members of the group—one of them saying the objective of their social media effort is to do "anything that will help paint African Americans in a bad light."
The spread of bogus Baltimore looting tweets has been the focus of stories published elsewhere, including Medium, where Eoghan mac Suibhne highlighted several fake tweets and concluded "we could speculate all day on the motivations of the people who posted these tweets, from the sinister to the silly. One thing for certain is that they were getting dozens of favourites and retweets, and there was no shortage of people taking them seriously."
The editor's note comes at an awkward time for BuzzFeed, which last month removed—and then reinstated—two articles critics suggested had been spiked because they were critical of BuzzFeed advertisers.