TechCrunch decides to release confidential Twitter documents; ethical questions raised

TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington is defending his decision to release private material, sent to them by a hacker  ‘who claims to have accessed hundreds of confidential corporate and personal documents of Twitter and Twitter employees’.

” The zip file contained 310 documents, ranging from executive meeting notes, partner agreements and financial projections to the meal preferences, calendars and phone logs of various Twitter employees.”

While TechCrunch does not plan to use all the documents, where breaches to individuals’ privacy are made, it plans to release those which have significant – in its view – ‘news value’.

“[W]e are going to release some of the documents showing financial projections, product plans and notes from executive strategy meetings. We’re also going to post the original pitch document for the Twitter TV show that hit the news in May, mostly because it’s awesome,” writes Arrington.

“There is clearly an ethical line here that we don’t want to cross, and the vast majority of these documents aren’t going to be published, at least by us. But a few of the documents have so much news value that we think it’s appropriate to publish them.”

The debate commences below Arrington’s post, with both supportive and critical responses.

Many are outraged by TechCrunch’s decision. E.g Derek:

“It is STOLEN material, Michael! What on Earth are you on about… ‘ethical compass’?! What kind of ethics you subscribe to that allow for publishing stolen material, NOT of proper interest to the general public – but harmful to the one they were STOLEN from?”

3 thoughts on “TechCrunch decides to release confidential Twitter documents; ethical questions raised

  1. John

    Seriously, who cares. But all credit to techcrunch for revealing what they’re up to – most journos don’t have the ethics to do that. And if you think they’re immoral or unethical, stop reading or subscribing to their service(s). Its their decision to do what they do – and I’m sure any party taking issue will seek legal action. “Publish and be damned”as the saying goes…

  2. Grayscale

    1. Twitter ought to have better security, ‘big’ business like that, serious issue – no legislating for treachery, of course, but vigilance is everything, etc.
    2. What have they got to hide, information wants to be free, now they know how the Iranian dictators felt, etc.
    3. Genie out of bottle, horse stable bolted, ring a ring o roses all fall down, etc.

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