Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’


Wikileaks behind fake Bill Keller-New York Times editorial

An apologetic piece extolling the virtues of WikiLeaks, written by a former New York Times executive editor?

Too good to be true.

As it turns out, it was.

The fake article,  posted online late July 28,  featured an almost wistful Bill Keller saying he was in “the awkward position of having to defend WikiLeaks.”

Keller, former executive editor of The New York Times,  had a rocky relationship with WikiLeaks, further adding to the shock factor of the piece.

The story used quotes pulled from Keller’s emailed responses to Matthew Ingram’s post in defense of WikiLeaks. The webpage was, in The Guardian’s words,  an “immaculate” replication of The New York Times webpage.

This piece came soon after reports that some United States government officials are looking for ways to prosecute journalists who publish leaked secrets.

Ultimately, Keller cleared the air with his July 29, all-caps tweet:

“THERE IS A FAKE OP-ED GOING AROUND UNDER MY NAME, ABOUT WIKILEAKS,” the tweet read. “EMPHASIS ON ‘FAKE.’ AS IN, NOT MINE.”

WikiLeaks later  claimed credit for the op-ed hoax.

A second  tweet from the organization hinted their motivation might have been to embarrass the Times into running something about the financial embargo against the company, according to The Guardian.

In retrospect, a few signs should have tipped off those who tweeted the column.

Not only did Gizmodo report inaccuracies with the missing favicon and inaccurate URL, but the column also contained several typos, Poynter reported.   (More tips on how to spot an internet hoax !)

WikiLeaks’ involvement with the hoax spurred mixed responses.

“Well done,” @LifeInGotham  said.

However, others weren’t so supportive of the prank:

“The people who  hate wikileaks(sic) will use this to cast doubt on the validity of everything you have/will ever leak,” James Gammell (@Destraudo) said.

Information pulled from:

Poynter

Gizmodo

The Guardian

GigaOM

The Christian Science Monitor

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with the Society of Professional Journalists. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email –  wevans@hq.spj.org –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

*Know something about Freedom of Information that you think we should cover in a blog post? We want to hear from you! Send information to wevans@HQ.SPJ.org. It may be featured in a future post.

Contempt charges dropped for Kentucky sexual assault victim

Contempt charges were dropped this week for a Kentucky teen who faced possible jail time after breaking a gag order and tweeting the names of her attackers.

Defense attorneys asked for charges against the teen, Savannah Dietrich, because she violated court order in releasing the names of two teenage boys who plead guilty to sexually assaulting her.

However, as of Monday, July 23, defense attorneys dropped the contempt charges.

Because the story of Dietrich’s tweet went global and the names of the teenage boys spread further than the initial tweet, said David Mejia, defense attorney for one of the the two teenage boys, contempt proceedings would be meaningless.

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with the Society of Professional Journalists. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email –  wevans@hq.spj.org –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

*Know something about Freedom of Information that you think we should cover in a blog post? We want to hear from you! Send information to wevans@HQ.SPJ.org. It may be featured in a future post

Judge orders release of Occupy protester’s tweets; How Twitter and social media are furthering investigative journalism

In another foray into the ongoing social media v. privacy debates, a New York judge ordered Twitter to release tweets from a former Occupy Wall Street protester.

Malcom Harris was arrested in October 2011 — with hundreds of other protesters — and charged with disorderly conduct.  In January, prosecutors subpoenaed tweets from Harris from just before the Occupy protests through 2011. Harris’ attorney unsuccessfully tried to block the subpoena. When  Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino ruled against the attorney’s motion, Twitter tried to quash the subpoena. However, Sciarrino disagreed. Although privacy laws exist, Harris’ tweets were publicly shared and as such did not qualify for privacy protections.

“What you give to the public belongs to the public. What you keep to yourself belongs only to you.” – Judge Matthew A. Sciarrino

Bottom line:  While privacy laws protect information gathered by journalists in some cases, sharing information on a public platform like Twitter snuffs any privacy protection.

However, don’t entirely dismiss Twitter and its social media allies — Foursquare, Facebook, Flickr and others.  These platforms are expanding the role of freedom of information in unprecedented ways, reports Mashable. To name a few:

  • Reduce Reading Time: Journalists who once had to slog through thousands of documents to find relevant information can now crowdsource. In other words, they can use followers and readers to help scan documents for relevant bits of information. See how TPM Muckraker and The Guardian have utilized their readers.
  • Man on the Street: Journalists can share a Google Map to help with stories on extreme weather patterns, fires or in one instance, to help government officials locate the source of an unusual smell.
  • Investigative Teamwork: Journalists who want to investigate stories more quickly may think about following Wendy Norris’ lead. Norris set out to confirm or deny the rumor that condom purchases in Colorado had been negatively affected by their placement in stores, at the time purportedly under lock and key behind pharmacy counters.  She used Twitter to recruit members of her community to help with the investigation. Once the results were in, she used Google Maps to share the results.

Click here to learn on how you can use social media with your investigations.

Read up on federal privacy laws. Also, see how privacy laws affect student journalists.

Whitney is the summer Pulliam/Killgore intern with SPJ. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University after studying journalism. Connect with her via email –  wevans@hq.spj.org –  or on twitter – @whitevs7

*Know something about Freedom of Information that you think we should cover in a blog post? We want to hear from you! Send information to wevans@HQ.SPJ.org. It may be featured in a future post.

FOI Fail of the Week: British gag order edition

Our pre-Memorial Day award for FOI Fail of the Week goes to the British court system’s injunction practices, which have been rocked this week by the revealing tweets of citizens.

Ryan Giggs, a soccer star, got a court injunction preventing media outlets from publishing the allegations he faces of having an affair with a reality television contestant.

His injunction is known as an “anonymized injunction,” where news outlets can publish information about him as long as his name is withheld.

The gag order didn’t keep Giggs’ identity a secret, however, as people posted his name and joked about his supposed indiscretions on Twitter.

The case has centered attention on “super-injunctions,” used in Britain to forbid journalists from both writing about something and also from writing about their inability to write in the first place. (Go back and read that again if you need.)

When Giggs’ attorneys insisted Twitter reveal the people behind the Internet campaign against the star, users spread the news even further.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt promised he would form a committee to review the rules for gagging orders and to assess potential alterations.

As for the odds of the Twitter users facing legal attacks for ignoring the injunction – well, they’re pretty slim.

With 75,000 people naming Giggs, British lawmaker John Hemming told Parliament that “it is obviously impracticable to imprison them all,” according to an Associated Press story.

– Morgan Watkins

Morgan Watkins is SPJ’s summer Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern and a University of Florida student. Reach her by email (mwatkins@spj.org) or connect with her on Twitter (@morganwatkins26).

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