Two major press release services, PR Newswire and Business Wire, both have been hit by fake press releases in the last week. A bogus notice regarding Javelin Pharmaceuticals Inc. made its way into the Business Wire service Friday night but was retracted soon after. CEO Cathy Baron Tamraz announced that the incident had been referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was treating the case as a criminal investigation.
In its own press release yesterday, Business Wire said it was changing its press release submission policy and would no longer accept material via email. All releases will have to be submitted through the online “BW Connect” order-entry system, which is audited for security. "Business Wire on rare occasions accepted emails as an accommodation to clients," Tamraz said in explaining the policy change. “Based on this weekend's events, we have put an immediate end to this practice,” Tamraz said in a statement. “Business Wire will only transmit releases that have been submitted via authorized users of BW Connect who file directly into Business Wire's editorial system using its secure, proprietary platform.”
The company claims to process 250,000 press releases annually and says hoaxes are “extremely rare.”
Last week, United Business Media’s PR Newswire published a phony release claiming that President Obama had ordered an investigation into General Mills’ supply chain. General Mills noted the release and notified PR Newswire of the error. PR Newswire issued a “kill” notice to journalists to disregard the original release since it came from an “unauthorized sender.”
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