Facebook Asks Journalists To Sign Non-Disclosures

    January 27, 2012
    Billy Thomas
    Comments are off for this post.

Our old friend Facebook is being pretty uptight about their privacy. Reportedly, before a recent news conference, Facebook officials asked attending journalists to sign a non-disclosure agreement, which entailed protocol that they were to follow once they arrived at the Seattle branch of the company. According to kplu.org, Dan Sytman, the Attorney General sent out an e-mail that said:

“Facebook asked me to pass this on to you. They require it of all visitors to their facilities. It only applies to things that you might accidentally stumble upon while you are there and covers nothing discussed during our news conference. Please either bring a signed copy or be ready to sign upon arrival.”

Journalists were a little upset needless to say, giving that their journalistic freedom was being, for lack of a better term, stolen. Journalists then got a little pep in their step as two hours later another e-mail was sent to agencies from Sarah Lane, the AG’s Director of New Media, stating.

“I’m writing on behalf of Dan Sytman. You may disregard the nondisclosure agreement that we sent earlier.”

So you may be curious as to what the agreement may have said. Well, partly it entailed:

“You may become aware of non-public information related to Facebook and its products, services, programs, features, data, techniques, technology, code, ideas, inventions, research, testing, methods, procedures, know-how, trade secrets, business and financial information and other activities through disclosure, observation or otherwise in the course of your visit … All Facebook Confidential Information remains the property of Facebook. You agree not to disclose any Facebook Confidential Information to any third party, and to take all reasonable precautions to prevent its unauthorized dissemination …”

The full agreement can be seen below.

If you were a journalist or if you are a journalist, how does this information make you feel? Do you feel it’s right, whether it’s legal or not, to ask journalists and media to pretty much forget what they see? We want to know what you think, leave us comments below.

  • PGS

    Seems about right – we want to know ALL about you, but you can’t know about us. OR: What’s yours is mine & what’s mine is mine, eyes off!

  • http://www.seonorthamerica.com Tom Aikins

    It seems reasonable of Facebook to want to try to control what journalists can write about in regard to something that they may consider secret. But how are you going to ever enforce something like this? How could they ever prove how a journalist learned of something while they were at Facebook’s offices? A journalist doesn’t have to disclose his or her sources so how could Facebook ever prove anything? Seems like a dumb and heavy-handed attempt on Facebook’s part. If they don’t want people to write about what they may see at their offices then don’t invite them there in the first place.

  • chase

    It’s a great way to hype the curiosity of journalist.

    The fact they canceled the non-disclosure right after the conference, hype, all hype.