The office of Canada’s Prime Minister requested on Tuesday that Fox News retract or update what it called a “false and misleading” tweet about the nationality of the suspect in the Quebec mosque shooting that left six dead on Sunday.
Fox News’ tweet said the suspect was “of Moroccan origin,” information that was later proven false by authorities but not immediately corrected by the outlet on Twitter.
The outlet deleted the tweet Tuesday evening after receiving the Prime Minister’s office’s request, more than 24 hours after it was originally posted.
“FoxNews.com initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday. The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error,” Refet Kaplan, managing director of FoxNews.com, told Business Insider in a statement.
The request, sent by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s communications director Kate Purchase, asked that Fox News either retract or update their tweet “to reflect the suspect’s actual identity.”
“Sadly, this misleading information has been left to stand on the Fox News Channel’s twitter account and continued to circulate online even now,” Purchase wrote in an email to Fox News.
“These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities,” she added.
Purchase later thanked the outlet for deleting the tweet.
The confusion likely stemmed from early reports from Quebec authorities that two suspects were in police custody after the attack: Alexandre Bissonnette and Mohamed Khadir. Authorities later clarified that Khadir — also identified in some reports as Mohammed Belhkadir — was a witness to the attack who had called 911, not a suspect who was charged.
But when tweeting updates of the story as more information became available, Fox News did not clarify the identity of the real suspect, Bissonnette, who is a white, French-Canadian male. Nor did it explain that its original characterization of the suspect as Moroccan was incorrect.
Bissonnette, a 27-year-old university student, has since been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder while using a restricted firearm.
Before the shooting, which Canadian authorities have referred to a terrorist attack, Bissonnette had expressed extremist, nationalist, and anti-Muslim views both online and to his friends, the Globe and Mail reported.
View the full email to Fox News below:
Earlier today I sent an email to @FoxNews about their misleading tweet yesterday. We will continue to stand up for our citizens (1/3) pic.twitter.com/sGz47PxMcb
— Kate Purchase (@katepurchase) January 31, 2017
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