The Associated Press on Thursday canceled a planned sale of a non-fungible token of a video of “migrants drifting in an overcrowded boat in the Mediterranean” after backlash on Twitter to a post advertising it, with many deeming it distasteful.
The tweet garnered at least 227,000 views before the news outlet deleted it, according to screenshots posted of the ad by Twitter users following its removal.
The AP intended to sell the video, along with other NFTs from AP photographer Felipe Dana, on its photojournalism NFT marketplace the following day.
The image in the tweet matches one of Dana’s on an AP image blog of refugees being rescued off the Libyan coast in 2018.
An AP representative confirmed to Forbes that the post was deleted and the image would not be put up for auction, stating,“This was a poor choice of imagery for an NFT.”
Twitter users called the post “dystopian,” “in extremely poor taste” and “hyping up the monetization of human suffering.”
Dana did not immediately respond to Forbes’ request for comment.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
It is unclear if the video will still be sold on the AP’s NFT marketplace, but the sale was scheduled for Friday at 12 p.m.
The AP began turning its photos into NFTs last month, launching its marketplace via the blockchain technology provider Xooa. In its release announcing the marketplace, the non-profit news organization said proceeds from the sales would “go back into funding factual, unbiased AP journalism.” Images currently available on the marketplace are selling for as much as $1,799 worth of the cryptocurrency Ethereum. NFTs are images stored on the blockchain, an encrypted ledger, making them unique to the owner.
“AP’s NFT marketplace is a very early pilot program,” the outlet told Forbes. “We are immediately reviewing our efforts.”
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