Even if AOB was inclined to investigate the veracity of the claims, instead of just simply taking down stories at face value, they were told early on by the CRT that they could not look at social media. This was a direct interference by the CRT into the independent “investigation” process.
When this was discovered, pressure was put on the CRT, that they were interfering with a supposed independent investigation. Subsequently, as stated in section 5.4 of the report, (“Other Data Considered”), the CRT started providing AOB with “public postings gathered by a professional firm from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube about and from Reporters and Supporters”.
If the allegations are supposedly anonymous, how would the PR firm even know who the “Reporters and Supporters” were, they could look for information from accusers who had made their claims publicly, but what about the other accusers? Instead of AOB having permission to freely review information themselves on social media, they had to rely on information provided to them by the PR firm. How can a PR firm, who is not involved in the investigation, even know what information to look for?
Instead of AOB having permission to freely review information themselves on social media, they had to rely on information provided to them by the PR firm. How can a PR firm, who is not involved in the investigation, even know what information to look for?
AOB was not allowed to collect their own data from social media. This was clear interference with the “independence” of the “investigation”. This is particularly troubling, since there was no representative of the accused and the claims were generally anonymous, so only AOB knew who was making what claims. This means that there were very few resources available to them for corroboration of the stories. The only options they seem to have used for cross reference as to the veracity of the claims was:
1. people who knew both the accuser and the accused and somehow found out about the allegations (through social media, the April Khalsa Council meeting or through word of mouth, hearsay) and
2. what was said on social media, which instead of looking for and accessing directly, was only shared with them by PR firm who, if confidentiality and anonymity were preserved, did not know what all of the claims were and who was making them. Full access to social media could have provided AOB with information showing inconsistencies in stories, etc.
Time and again in the sections of findings of the report, AOB states
“In public social media made available to us, we found no confirmation or disconfirmation of these allegations…”
If AOB was putting so much weight of referring to social media in their findings, they should have had free reign to look for the information that only they knew to look for and not just what was fed to them, by a PR firm who was not privy to the full details of the investigation.