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Private Twitter Documents To Be Revealed

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While this may fall into the “too early to tell” category it certainly is of interest, especially considering the pace of Internet ‘news’ these days. TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington has had a ‘gift’ fall into his lap and a lot of folks are interested to see if he is going to share with the rest of the world. Apparently TechCrunch and others have been handed some confidential Twitter docs and now there is question of what to do with it. The opening paragraph of his post is enough to make anyone curious, at the very least.

Here’s a dilemma: The guy (”Hacker Croll”) who claims to have accessed hundreds of confidential corporate and personal documents of Twitter and Twitter employees, is releasing those documents publicly and sent them to us earlier today. The zip file contained 310 documents, ranging from executive meeting notes, partner agreements and financial projections to the meal preferences, calendars and phone logs of various Twitter employees.

So what to do? Arrington assures his readers that the majority of the documents won’t be published. He even goes so far as to call most of them uninteresting but there are some individuals who might be embarrassed by some of the material.

Imagine what it must be like over at Twitter HQ. If you are among the 50 plus chosen who work for the most talked start up in a very long time there has to be a few uncomfortable moments in the offing today. A company that small likely has a pretty active rumor mill and this kind of potentially uncomfortable situation can be extremely disruptive to work and to the culture in general.

While Arrington is saying what he wouldn’t publish he is also talking about what he will. If he actually does remains to be seen but he did say

But we are going to release some of the documents showing financial projections, product plans and notes from executive strategy meetings. We’re also going to post the original pitch document for the Twitter TV show that hit the news in May, mostly because it’s awesome.

I have a few pretty strong feelings about using this kind of material considering how it was acquired. Not being a pure ‘journalist’, getting a scoop is not my first thought and it seems like there needs to be some compromises made in order to get ‘stories’. This is certainly one of those instances. Gladit’s not me making this call! Many in the comment thread of the post complained about Arrington’s plans but he=is reply was as follows

lol. if we only posted things that companies gave us permission to post this would be a press release site and none of you would be here. News is stuff someone doesn’t want you to write. The rest is advertising.

Chime in Pilgrims. What line is good to cross and what lines are better left alone? Is this just a way to get people to TechCrunch since nothing has really been revealed yet? Since it appears that TC is not the only outlet to get these docs should it just be a gold rush to get it out first and claim the notoriety? Lastly, how would it look now if he didn’t publish the goods?

UPDATE: TechCrunch Responds to the Response

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