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NEW YORK (AP) – Walmart Inc. of Bentonville has denied any partnership with digital currency Litecoin after a fake press release led to a brief wave of inaccurate reports from national media and social media users on Monday .
A press release claiming that a partnership between Walmart and Litecoin is “not real,” according to Walmart spokeswoman Molly Blakeman. Charlie Lee, creator of Litecoin and managing director of the Litecoin Foundation, has confirmed that the post is fake.
The bogus announcement was temporarily published on a major press release and in outlets such as Reuters, CNBC and Yahoo Finance, before being removed and corrected. It was not immediately clear who created it.
Here’s a closer look at the facts.
CLAIM: Walmart announced a major partnership with digital currency Litecoin on Monday.
FACTS: The country’s largest retailer is not partnering with Litecoin, despite a fake press release claiming it, Blakeman told The Associated Press by phone. Walmart added in a statement on its website that it “has no relationship with Litecoin.”
Lee, who created Litecoin, confirmed the post was fake in an email to the AP. A Litecoin employee mistakenly tweeted the false statement Monday from the currency’s verified account after seeing the false announcement on GlobeNewswire, a major press release distributor, Lee explained. The employee then realized his mistake and deleted the tweet, Lee said.
The press release touted the fake title “Walmart Announces Major Partnership With Litecoin”. He fabricated quotes from the CEO of Walmart and the creator of Litecoin to falsely claim that Walmart would allow customers to pay with digital currency from October 1.
After the release of the release, Twitter users pointed out that Walmart did not advertise the partnership on its own corporate website, and that the contact email in the release did not match the actual address. of the company’s website.
While this ad is bogus, Walmart is looking to hire a digital currencies and blockchain expert, Blakeman said.
The bogus statement briefly stumbled national media, Twitter users, and cryptocurrency buyers. Litecoin’s price fell from around $ 175 early Monday to around $ 233 seconds after the press release was released. The price dropped just as quickly a few minutes later.
GlobeNewswire, which briefly featured the release on its site before deleting it, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company is an Associated Press client who distributes press releases to AP’s client network.
This is part of AP’s efforts to tackle widely shared misinformation, including working with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to the deceptive content circulating online. Learn more about fact checking at AP.