This is a collaborative post with myself and Sonny Gill. Both with slightly differing views on the topic, we’ve discussed the different sides of the issue and I’m personally torn, while Sonny is more confident of his stance. In the spirit of a great collaborative post by Lauren Fernandez and David Mullen on a different issue, we’ve decided to take the same approach and work together to provide a thorough view of both sides of this issue.
If you haven’t heard about what’s going on, Michael Arrington, yesterday, claimed to have been sent 310 documents that were stolen by a hacker from Twitter including phone records, financial projections and more. Arrington and TechCrunch then, after mulling it over, decided to post some of these documents. At the time of writing this post, they’ve only posted the Twitter TV Show document and the financial projection document.
- Techcrunch didn’t steal the information, the hacker did…is it not their responsibility to share newsworthy information that’s brought to their attention?
- If the media never shared news that could hurt someone, the industry probably wouldn’t exist. The most entertaining things seems to be news that someone doesn’t want you to share. Perhaps not ethical, but definitely a standard that has already been set.
- They aren’t sharing any information that directly hurts anyone. They specifically stated that they are not going to share some things, because it could be embarrassing for some individuals.
- Controversial, risqué moves have always deemed great viewership and typically an increase in subscriptions and traffic. Why not please their numbers, as well as their advertisers?
- Twitter is clearly still the talk of the town in the tech sector and now mainstream. If you were in TechCrunch’s shoes, would you leverage this power to drive even more eyes to your site, regardless if it could quite possibly hurt a platform that thousands flock to everyday?
- This content was stolen. It wasn’t shared willingly, it wasn’t leaked by an insider, it was taken against Twitter’s will.
- If you wouldn’t post content that is embarrassing for some individuals, how is posting content that could hurt the company, and therefore every employee and individual who has a share in the company, any better?
- Being a leader in the tech industry, there comes a responsibility and candor that people in this bubble expect. Clearly, all of that was thrown out of the window with how these documents were treated and power abused.
- There’s also a responsibility to advertisers, to uphold a certain core integrity to the content you publish.
Was it Smart?
- Arrington can milk this for all it’s worth, and so far it’s worth hundreds of comments, and a great deal of traffic. It’s also created multiple links to TechCrunch from mainstream media like the New York Times.
- Looks like TechCrunch and Twitter are working together on this issue. Even more power for Michael and the crew over Twitter, and perhaps ‘special treatment’ on future feature releases, etc.
- The tech bubble is abuzz and regardless of the outcome, everybody will forget it in a few weeks.
- Maybe TechCrunch is showing Twitter some tough love to get their act together security wise, as they continue to grow their user base.
- Advertisers could very well bow out and take their spend to more respectable, ethical blogs.
- You’ve turned your tech savvy community into trolls who are looking for the next controversial hit of a post.
- You’re quickly becoming the TMZ of the tech world. Loss of respect will send some readers elsewhere.
- You could burn a bridge to a very valuable source of news, Twitter. Now, Twitter may actually go out of their way, to give their news to someone else before you.
- By directing more attention to the ethics issue of posting the documents, you get more traffic, but also a lot more heat. They could have just posted the information, like they would with any other story for which they get “tipped off”.