Capturing information online is an automated process with information published remaining available forever. This can be a two-edged sword as Samoan news organisation Talamua found out to their (and the Prime Minster’s) embarrassment.
Corruption within the Samoan ruling elite was brought into the public eye in the late twenty-teens with the creation of an online blogger O Le Palemia (OLP).
OLP has, to put it politely, caused ‘merry hell’ for the establishment not only claiming, but proving that serious long-term corruption goes right to the top.
Lagi Keresoma is a Samoan freelance journalist who writes for Talamua On-Line News, a commercial operation owned and run by Lance Polu, a “man with a past” but who takes a strong feed from the government of the day.
In June 2018, Lagi wrote a story entitled “O Le Palemia ghost writers identities revealed” but then retracted it a few hours later with an explanation that the blogger’s identity was the subject of a police investigation.
But not everything is what it seems . . . her explanation of where she got the story in the first place puts this whole drama into proper context – she took the information from the Prime Minister’s public announcement of this information! A smart girl to follow the source, note the newsworthy significance & write first.
So the Samoan Prime Minister Tuila’epa, whose reputation is already in shreds with most ex-pat Samoans who follow OLP, outed whom he thought these individuals were on a public forum; a journalist did what all good journalists do . . . and now there is an “HTTP Error 404 – File or Directory not found” statement on that page and the retraction published shortly after remains.
You cannot retract publication online. You can burn books and hunt down every copy of Mein Kampf on the planet but you cannot retract it once it has gone out on the ‘Interwebs’ in digital form. Missing information raises huge questions as to why it is missing.
There is no such thing as retracting digital information when published online.
Google archives many sites every hour; retains a cache for a month. Websites are also archived formally & informally and often by the publisher, usually forever.
The takehomes from this is that the Prime Minister of Samoa screwed up – he is usually better than this. My guess is that he was so excited to know who his adversary finally was that blood rushed to his head and ignored his usual political instinct for caution.
OLP is more than one person.
You can never “retract” information online without raising questions in the process!