Associated Press, by far the most aggressive news organization out there when it comes to restricting any type of conduct which they feel has even the remotest chance of devaluing their brand. They made news not long ago by going after bloggers who they felt were violating their copyright by taking snippets of and linking to their stories without consent.
AP is now sending “take down” notices to their own employees with Facebook pages. They are forcing them through a “Third Reich” type social networking policy to watch who they friend and monitor the posts of their current Facebook friends for what AP considers inappropriate content. Quite a burden for an AP reporter just looking to hook up with a cute date on Facebook.
As reported in Wired Magazine, an Associated Press reporter recently received an official reprimand over a comment on his Facebook page comment posted to his Facebook profile late last month criticizing the executive management of newspaper publisher McClatchy, whose stock plummeted following a 2006 acquisition of San Jose-based Knight Ridder.
Apparently APs ethics policy says writers “must be mindful that opinions they express may damage the AP’s reputation as an unbiased source of news.
“They must refrain from declaring their views on contentious public issues in any public forum.”
WOW! That does not leave much room for conversation and daily discourse. After reading this policy I wondered what the Facebook Wall of an Associated Press Reporter looks like as it seems that opining on just about anything can get him/her reprimanded or fired.
After an exhaustive search through the Facebook pages of AP reporters here is a wall conversation I found between a reporter and his new hot Facebook friend Sally who he is also trying to hook up with.
Sally: Did you see that new Iran protest video?
AP Reporter: I had a hangnail this morning, really sucks
Sally: What about that disturbing video?
AP Reporter: It is supposed to be hot out today.
Sally: Can I post the video on your page? Its important to get the word out!
AP Reporter: I am getting my prostate checked today
Sally: You are so lame and boring! Forget about that date tonight!
AP Reporter: That’s ok. I have to de-friend you anyways. You are too controversial.
Can AP interfere in their employees Facebook worlds in this manner? Absolutely. As I have said time and time again in the context of the Facebook Holocaust Denial dispute, there is no 1st Amendment protection in the private realm. Is AP going to far? A lot of people think so. On thing is certain. The numbers of AP reporters getting laid off Facebook is probably plummeting as we speak.