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Mashable's Very Big Meryl Streep Correction Missing From Facebook's Instant Articles

There's one big flaw in Facebook's flagship mobile publishing platform.

Clemens Bilan | Getty Images

Earlier this month, several publications ran reports that legendary actress Meryl Streep made a flippant, tactless remark about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. “Meryl Streep on diversity: ‘We’re all Africans, really'” read a Mashable headline that went viral.

Turns out that the headline was woefully wrong. On Saturday, Mashable added this massive correction to the top of its story:

Meryl Streep’s “We’re all Africans, really” comment was a direct response to a question about Arab and African films, not a response to questions about the Berlinale Film Festival’s all white jury, as the article and headline originally suggested. A recording of the panel shows that Streep’s original comments were misrepresented in subsequent reports.

But the note is only there if you read the Mashable story online. Find the same story on Facebook, where many people now discover and read news, and the update is absent.

That’s very likely a consequence of Facebook’s Instant Articles. The mobile publishing feature hosts publisher content on Facebook directly, meaning that there could be a lag in tweaks to articles from publishers. (We tested out the Mashable article on Facebook with both iPhone and Android, and the correction is missing from both.)

This type of correction, which fundamentally alters the story, is rare but not unheard of. So Facebook may have to confront this problem again soon, particularly since it is now opening up Instant Articles to every publisher across the world.

We reached out to Facebook about this, and will update if they respond.

Update: As of Sunday morning, the Mashable story has changed inside Facebook to reflect the correction. A source familiar with the Instant Articles feature said the onus is on publishers to make tweaks to articles, not the social company. Facebook declined to comment. A request for comment to Mashable was not immediately returned.

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