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LA Times false accusation of Facebook

Posted by Graeme in Internet,Wrong at 6:49 am on Sunday, 26 July 2009

Yet more examples of the wonderful fact checking that we can rely on journalists to do, the LA Times has a story that relies entirely on the authority of “someone’s blog said so”, accusing Facebook of using user’s photos in ads without permission. It was soon convincingly re-butted by Facebook.

Part of the problem is clearly the lack of fact checking. It is also probable that the journalist did not understand how Facebook works and did not distinguish between Facebook and third party app developers that use Facebook. Facebook does not control the third party developers: it does cut off those who break is rules, but that only happens after they have been caught breaking the rules.

This is why the only third part app I use is Posterous cross-posting (everything I post to Posterous is posted on Facebook as well). I trust Posterous more than Facebook, so there is no issue there. If you add every cute app you come across, you are taking a risk.

Anyway, could all those journalists who tell us who professional and trustworthy they are compared to bloggers and other non-professionals, explain why:

  1. Journalists keep getting stories from bloggers and (often false )background information from Wikipedia?
  2. Why journalists keep writing about things they get wrong because they do not understand the subject. I see this most in financial journalism, but that is because I know enough about the subject matter to spot their often serious mistakes.

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