Corporation behaving unethically? See something, say something for love of country. Share tips with trusted journalists to investigate.
Facebook routinely hides its activities and blocks access to information for independent journalists. Recent articles by the Wall Street Journal sheds light on the damage Facebook is doing to society and the country. Holding corporations accountable for misdeeds by sharing tips with trusted journalists who can investigate and shed light on them.
“The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them,” said Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
This blog covers tip lines to trusted journalists, the ethics of leaks, and examples of corporations acting unethically to spread COVID disinformation, damage democracy and promote violence.
Hold corporations accountable
"Changes Facebook instituted in 2018 to turn down the dial on contentious politics in people's feeds had the opposite effect, driving extreme views instead.
A system called XCheck, the subject of Monday's story in the Journal series, placed millions of prominent users in a VIP tier that allowed them to break Facebook's rules with few or no consequences, leaving the door wide open to the spread of harmful content.
The Journal also reported how harmful Instagram can be for young girls — a huge issue that comes as the company continues to weigh a separate version of the photo and video service aimed directly at the under-18 set.
Another Journal installment Thursday detailed inadequate responses to illegal content from drug trafficking gangs in Mexico, groups inciting ethnic violence in Ethiopia, and human traffickers providing domestic workers to Persian Gulf nations.
Another report on a flood of anti-vaccination misinformation last spring that swamped an effort to promote COVID vaccinations." - Axios about the Wall Street Journal's Facebook Files.
Leaked documents reveal the special rules Facebook uses for 5.8M VIPs. "These people can violate our standards without any consequences." - Ars Technica
Share tips confidentially with journalists
The Washington Post
The Washington Post offers several ways to securely send information and documents to Post journalists. No system is 100% secure, but these tools attempt to create a more secure environment than that provided by normal communication channels. Please review the fine print before using any of these tools so you can choose the best option for your communication needs.
SecureDrop is an open-source whistleblower submission system that media organizations can use to securely accept documents from and communicate with anonymous sources. SecureDrop submissions are entirely encrypted and do not include any identifying metadata.
Rachel Maddow - MSNBC
Send it to Rachel!
Points of contact for submitting news tips to The Rachel Maddow Show.
SIGNAL: 646-419-0218* (What is Signal?)
WHATSAPP: 646-419-0218* (What is WhatsApp?)
TELEGRAM: 646-419-0218* (What is Telegram?)
Wall Street Journal
"If you want to provide news tips or documents to The Wall Street Journal, there are several ways to do so. It’s still possible for tipsters to reach out directly to our reporters by phone or email if they feel comfortable doing so. The tools outlined below can help you communicate more securely, and in some cases, anonymously, though no strategy is foolproof.
Keep in mind: the most useful news tips are detailed, provide some documentation and suggest names of people the Journal might contact to verify the information. If you want a reply from someone at the Journal, please select a secure way to do so from the choices below. Messages will be checked on a regular basis but replies could be delayed. Please note that the Journal may not respond to all messages. Use these tools at your own risk and after reviewing the terms and instructions provided by the app developers." - WSJ
New York Times
"A strong news tip will have several components. Documentation or evidence is essential. Speculating or having a hunch does not rise to the level of a tip. A good news tip should articulate a clear and understandable issue or problem with real-world consequences. Be specific. Finally, a news tip should be newsworthy.
Examples of good tips include: Here is evidence that this government representative is breaking the law. Here is proof that this company is conducting itself unethically.
We will be reviewing messages regularly, but cannot promise each will receive an individual response. There are multiple ways to submit tips. Each method provides different levels of protection, so we encourage you to be certain of the pros and cons of the method you choose. We will respond to tips using the same method in which they were submitted. For example, if you submit a tip to us with WhatsApp, we will only respond to you using WhatsApp." - NY Times
The ethics of leaks
"Leaks serve an important public function. The media would certainly have much less to write about if there were no leaks! Much of the news each day is based on information previously considered confidential. Reporters urge news sources to leak information to help the public make up its own mind about important issues under the rallying cry of "the public's right to know."
There have been good leaks which arguably served the public interest - Deep Throat of Watergate fame, Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers, recent leaks about unauthorized government wiretapping. Is it ever ethical to leak information? Are there times when there is an obligation to leak information?
A good leak is the disclosure of information that expands public understanding of an issue of public interest - without harming anyone. A leak also can be good if it illuminates understanding of an important issue even if it harms someone, as long as the public interest at stake is significant-lives and health are at risk; a crime, such as fraud is being committed; public monies are being misspent." - Markulla Center For Applied Ethics
All The President's Men
All the President's Men is a 1974 non-fiction book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, two of the journalists who investigated the June 1972 break-in at the Watergate Office Building and the resultant political scandal for The Washington Post. The book chronicles the investigative reporting of Woodward and Bernstein from Woodward's initial report on the Watergate break-in through the resignations of Nixon Administration officials H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman in April 1973, and the revelation of the Oval Office Watergate tapes by Alexander Butterfield three months later. It relates the events behind the major stories the duo wrote for the Post, naming some sources who had previously refused to be identified for their initial articles, notably Hugh Sloan.
It also gives detailed accounts of Woodward's secret meetings with his source Deep Throat, whose identity was kept hidden for over 30 years. Gene Roberts, the former executive editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and former managing editor of The New York Times, has called the work of Woodward and Bernstein "maybe the single greatest reporting effort of all time." - WikiPedia
TakeAway: Do your part for love of country. See something, say something.
Image credit: All The President's Men / American Cinematographer