Southend News Network has made a formal complaint to ITV News over their coverage of fake news and Facebook during their evening bulletin at 6.30pm on Monday 18th February.

We have asked for an explanation about why a screenshot from our page was used alongside another screenshot from a page that was clearly designed to incite Islamophobia and hatred.

Our complaint reads:

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing in reference to the ITV Evening News broadcast at 6.30pm on Monday 18th February.

At the beginning of your segment about ‘Fake News’ and Facebook, a screenshot from my satirical page Southend News Network (the headline ‘Southend residents evacuate town over supermoon collision fears’) was shown alongside another screenshot of the headline ‘Muslim council tax exemption’ – the latter being a piece of fake news that was originally put online with the intention of inciting Islamophobia and hatred.

Our content is always created to entertain and not to cause actual harm, and so I find it baffling that you would choose to showcase an example of our work (our logo is clearly visible) alongside a far more sinister example of fake news.

The whole nature of your piece was discussing why Facebook should take more responsibility for actual harm caused by fake news, so I cannot see what harm my story about the moon colliding with an Essex seaside town could have done.

More to the point, if you were actively looking for examples of harmful headlines, I could have cherry picked at least 50 from the Daily Mail and The Sun, actual ‘genuine’ media outlets, before breakfast this morning!

I look forward to your response regarding this oversight,

Regards,

Simon Harris
Founder
Southend News Network