The revelations from the trawl of Facebook’s internal documents seized by Parliament recently have featured across the front pages of many titles this morning. After all, harvesting user data without telling those users, favouring some firms with data access, shafting others by shutting them out, and trading data as if it were some kind of currency, is likely to make many of their readers sit up and take notice.
So it was no surprise to see headlines like the Guardian’s “Facebook discussed cashing in on user data, emails show”, Metro telling “How Facebook Spied On You … And Your Pals … Tech giant knew phone snooping was controversial ‘so kept it quiet’”, the FT noting “Facebook accused by by MPs of signing secret agreements to pass on user data”, and the Telegraph chipping in with “Facebook blocked data to rival firms”.
One media empire not interested in putting the story on its front page, though - blowing hot and cold on the issue once more - is that of the Murdoch mafiosi. And in the New Media world, one outlet that might have been expected to say something, given they expended so much energy whining about the seizure engineered by DCMS chairman Damian Collins, has been silent. And that outlet is BuzzFeed News.
True, BuzzFeed has today carried “Mark Zuckerberg's Biggest Problem: Internal Tensions At Facebook Are Boiling Over”, an in-depth exposé of fault lines opening up in the company. But nothing from the UK stalwarts who were so keen to tell “Plaintiff In Facebook Lawsuit Hints A Reporter May Have Tipped Off Parliament To Seize Documents” recently, yet another in the litany of attacks on the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr.
Then, in an article featuring the name of Mark di Stefano on the by-line, the site told “In a strange twist to an already bizarre case, a software developer who is suing Facebook, and whose sealed documents related to the lawsuit were seized during a trip to the United Kingdom, has now named a prominent journalist, Carole Cadwalladr, in response to a question from a California court as to how authorities knew he was in the country”.
Really? No really: “Although [Ted] Kramer concedes he does not know how the DCMS committee knew where he was staying in London, he suggests [my emphasis] in a 19-page court filing made on Monday that Carole Cadwalladr, a freelance reporter at British outlet the Observer, had tipped off the committee to his hotel address so that it could obtain the documents”. Nudge. Wink. Leap that logic barrier!
No opportunity to kick Carole, no BuzzFeed comment
What's he doing here, I wonder?
That amateur hour divertissement provoked this rare intervention from Nick Davies, whose seminal book Flat Earth News is still the go-to work on the machinations of the Fourth Estate: “BuzzFeed keep sniping at Carole Cadwalladr's work which makes them look a) jealous and spiteful; and b) simply ignorant about the way that really good journalists do their job. They should go find a real story”. Well, yesterday they had one. And dropped it.
The Facebook revelations are tailor made for an outfit like BuzzFeed. But, as they once again show that Ms Cadwalladr was right, and they were wrong for continuing the vendetta against her kicked off by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, they have kept schtum. Including Mark di Stefano.
It looks like BuzzFeed UK are having a collective sulk. I’ll just leave that one there.
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