Facebook reporting

New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton tweeted an “off-the-record” quote from an unnamed Facebook official today.  The groundbreaking revelation: CEO Mark Zuckerberg scoffs at privacy.

The leak was ill-timed for Facebook.  As Wired’s coverage points out, the “official” nature of an off-the-record conversation means that it probably shouldn’t have been repeated:

“‘Off the record’ restricts the reporter from using the information the source is about to deliver,” reads NYU’s Journalism Handbook, in one definition of the phrase.  “If the reporter can confirm the information with another source who doesn’t insist on speaking off the record (whether that means he agreed to talking on the record, on background, or not for attribution), he can publish it.” “On background” usually means that information can be used, but can’t be attributed to a specific person.

In other words, the person making the quote might have thought the information was private, but the conversation was set up so that information was revealed.  Boy, wouldn’t that be instant karma.
In reality, the unnamed source apparently understood that he would be quoted – which is good.  In media relations as well as Facebook, nothing is really off-the-record.

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