Social networks could reveal journalist sources

Social networks could reveal journalist sources

Summary: Journalists rely heavily on their contacts to tip them off about news stories. Those contacts take a lot of time to make, and are based on trust, trust that the contacts won't get into trouble.

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Journalists rely heavily on their contacts to tip them off about news stories. Those contacts take a lot of time to make, and are based on trust, trust that the contacts won't get into trouble.

With social networks such as LinkedIn and FaceBook, a journalist's contacts could be easily checked. What happens if I write a news story say about Apple, and Steve Jobs gets upset about leaked information and checks to see who among my FaceBook friends works at Apple? And fires them? Even if that contact wasn't the source of the leak.

It is going to be risky being friends with a journalist...at least on the public social networks. Will journalists become social pariahs?

- - - Please also see Steve Rubel: The PR Theater of Operations Will Flee Email for Social Networks

Topics: Networking, Social Enterprise

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5 comments
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  • Then don't use the "social" networking site

    or create a false account you can use to obtain information and keep your "sources" out of your real account. Pretty simple really. ]:)
    Linux User 147560
    • Fake IDs dont cut it

      The problem with that is, these days, that can be unraveled. Lets say you're a Diamondbacks fan and go by Diamondbacks86. If you use that moniker in more than one place (say, a Diamondbacks fan site), you may slip up and innocuously point out that you can get press passes to a game. now that moniker can be linked to being an agent of the press. From there, comparing different social networks may find a match up with your real friends.

      more and more sites are harvesting information too... I know my name appears in a DNS whois lookup. Sites like google make it easy to link them together.

      All it will take is 1 automated site to do this work for the "enemy," and your layers of subterfuge collapse.
      cmdrrickhunter@...
  • Good reason...

    ...for journalists to not have accounts on social networking sites.
    John L. Ries
  • Journalists are not above the law

    If one of a journalist's "sources" inside a company tips them off to secret company
    information, that person is breaking the law. It is only right that the company then
    attempt to find and terminate that person.

    To avoid putting their friends in undue trouble, journalists could simply refuse to
    print stories for which the information was obtained through illegal channels.

    If they can't make that commitment, they can hardly complain about being social
    pariahs.
    GrubLord
  • RE: Social networks could reveal journalist sources

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    yantangseo