Community Notes Corrects Media Spin On Claudine Gay Resignation

The Community Notes feature on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, made some corrections this week to mainstream media headlines about the resignation of Harvard University President Claudine Gay in the wake of a plagiarism scandal.

An Associated Press (AP) headline Wednesday about the story read: “Harvard president’s resignation highlights new conservative weapon against colleges: plagiarism.”

The Community Notes feature meanwhile added some context that readers who saw the headline while using the X platform “thought people might want to know.” Community Notes function to empower “users to create a better-informed world.”

“Plagiarism is a breach of rules for Harvard University,” Notes said on a post of the AP story to the platform, providing a link to the source. “Claudine Gay was ultimately forced to resign for a series of breaches of this policy,” Notes continued, again providing a link to the proof of its claim.

Finally, Notes concluded: “Plagiarism – or application of the rules around plagiarism – therefore cannot be considered a ‘weapon’.”

X.com owner and erstwhile Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk replied, “And, once again, @CommunityNotes for the win. Gay repeatedly violated Harvard’s rules against plagiarism. Source: Harvard.”

Several users agreed with Community Notes in the ensuing reply thread. One user wrote, “Having standards and expecting people to meet them is not ‘a conservative weapon’.” Another cheered the Notes feature, writing, “Community notes is the best thing since sliced bread.”

The feature appears not only to have informed more X users about the context of AP’s claims, but also seems to have elicited a correction on the original news article itself. Since going up in a post on X, editors at AP have changed the headline. It now reads: “Plagiarism charges downed Harvard’s president. A conservative attack helped to fan the outrage.”

Meanwhile, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) deleted a post that received a Community Notes correction. The original headline read, “Harvard’s Claudine Gay a casualty of campus culture wars.” A Community Note added a correction: “Claudine Gay resigned due to several incidences of plagiarism being discovered in her academic work.”