BBC -Another Sucker for PR Spoof?

On October 15th, BBC Online carried a story on the planned launch by Barclays Stockbrokers of an Internet trading service in the UK. The story was titled Share dealing: an Online revolution and carried the following paragraph:

Next week Barclays Stockbrokers, the UK's largest share broker, plans to make the first ever "real time" share trade in Europe over the Internet.

On the day of publication, we contacted the BBC and advised them that Swedish brokers had been trading on the Internet since 1996 and we subsequently forwarded an e-mail message from NordNet, one of Stockholm's leading Internet brokers confirming their range of real time services. We also informed the BBC that Germany's biggest direct bank Bank 24 , had a broking service comparable with E*Trade, in the US.

On the afternoon of Tuesday October 20th, the BBC substituted 'the United Kingdom' for 'Europe' in its story and stated that it was unable to confirm whether the incorrect information had been supplied by Barclays or the journalist who had written the story, had made a mistake as he was then on holidays.

Read our article Online-Phone or the Internet? -Why definitions are so important, for our views on why the foregoing is not the ranting of a pedant but is an important issue in separating the hype from the reality.

We have previously referred to hyped claims concerning online mortgages services.

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