Monday’s much-hyped front-page “Wall Street Journal investigation” into
which items in your kitchen sink might be secretly killing you which Facebook apps were passing along your user ID to advertising and tracking companies left people who understand how the Internet inside your computer works wondering two things. (1) Why was the fact that online advertisers might be able to find out your name, information you’ve made public, and possibly which apps you’ve downloaded presented with the same white-knuckled dread as a ticking time bomb? (2) If Facebook and its developers, such as Farmville creator Zynga, were outed, why not News Corp.’s MySpace?
Now, a source close to MySpace tells TechCrunch that the social network was indeed being investigated and that improper privacy practices were discovered. The source says it was killed because it would have been published days before the announcement about MySpace’s big new relaunch. TechCrunch thinks this casts aspersions on News Corp.’s journalistic ethics. But considering that the paper’s “What They Know” series has always had a whiff of propaganda about it, ethics don’t seem to be the issue. The Journal probably left off the piece because hearing MySpace may have flaunted privacy rules is about as scary as hearing an apartment you used to live in was robbed. Sure, you can muster an empathetic tsk-tsk, but c’mon, you moved out of that place five years ago.
Updated: The Journal published its MySpace story, date-stamped October 23rd, hours after the TechCrunch allegation that it killed the same story back in September before the social network’s relaunch. Based on what’s online Friday at 9pm EST, it looks to be much smaller than the comprehensive package on Facebook. After a reader requested clarification about TechCrunch’s claim, a Dow Jones’ spokesperson responded in the comments:
Regarding the Techcrunch story: The claim is ridiculous in every sense. Our groundbreaking series on digital privacy has scientifically examined cookies, beacons and other tracking technologies at every leading company, including WSJ.com.