Owen WilliamsFormer TNW employee
Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.
Late last year, The Guardian posted a series of articles about Whisper, an anonymous app that allowed users to share messages anonymously. Today, it’s posted a lengthy correction of portions of a later story and has even taken down an opinion piece on Whisper.
The original scoop said that despite Whisper’s claims of not tracking its users, the company knew their precise location and was even sharing it with some authorities in the US. The Guardian said in its correction some claims were not accurate, for example:
“We reported that IP addresses can only provide an approximate indication of a person’s whereabouts, not usually more accurate than their country, state or city. We are happy to clarify that this data (which all internet companies receive) is a very rough and unreliable indicator of location.”
The retraction also says that Whisper never shared personal user data with US Department of Defense’s Suicide Prevention Office and that “Whisper contests many other aspects of our reporting.”
The Guardian’s original story had wide-reaching consequences, resulting in the eventual layoff of Whisper’s news team and a number of staff. Joshua Chavers, former News Editor at Whisper, was one of those that lost his job and tweeted his disappointment today.
Whisper had hoped to share newsworthy content from the service in partnership with media like The Guardian and Buzzfeed.
Heck if it weren’t for The Guardian’s reporting, I wouldn’t be out fishing, going to the beach rn, and, well, standing in unemployment line.
— Joshua Chavers (@JoshuaChavers) March 11, 2015
Get the TNW newsletter
Get the most important tech news in your inbox each week.