The other broader issue that has to be dealt with is that this is the face of the new media landscape. Where do you think journalists and writers have left to go in the collapse of the news media? PR flacks often times have journalism degrees, and the only people left paying for flacks are big corporates and their pr departments.
Siegler profits directly from leaks. Do you deny this?
And FB does not profit from leaks.
So this has nothing to do with integrity. What does printing something marked "confidential" have to do with integrity? Siegler is just mad that FB got someone to post their side of the story.
And, furthermore, Facebook does not profit from leaks here. But tech companies, especially FB, are more than happy to use leaks and whisper campaigns to their benefit, as we well know, and as is reiterated in this article.
And even if Techcrunch were to disappear, Facebook and their PR team would still be there, lobbying politicians, and putting out favorable stories about their company.
To that extent, i agree with TechCrunch, that their interests align better with the general public's than Facebook's do. So long as TechCrunch is interested in an accurate portrayal of how these tech companies actually function, and how their interests are, or are not aligned with the other forces they must contend with, that is actual journalism, with public utility.
I loathe TC's stupid gossipy coverage of the bullshit that individual VCs are pulling, or who Arrington has happened to have pissed off today. But what Facebook, Apple and Google are up to is certainly of the public interest, especially as they are the forces which determine a good deal of the landscape for the consumer internet.
That tech companies are brazenly trying to squash information that is tactically inconvenient to them is far more disturbing to me than whatever malfeasance you're ascribing to TechCrunch here.
On the other hand, some company executives like to see things in a violent narrative too. They're all about crushing the competition and storming the market. So maybe Facebook's leadership sees their relationship with Apple the same way Siegler does. Hard to know.
Certainly we can say that there is a tension between native and HTML5 apps, which is of interest to any dev that's interested in mobile devices. That Apple's and Facebook's interest do not align here is an interesting story. Especially with Facebook throwing their weight behind HTML5 apps.
How that relationship is actually handled between Apple and Facebook is indeed another matter, and also something that would be interesting to know.
MG is one of the stars of the "AOL Way" but at least in this case and with the Project Spartan break, he's committed some real and quality journalism.
Someone needs to give MG a collection of Hemingway's short stories for Xmas.
Here's something I would pay money for and maybe other publishers, as well.
Through WindyCitizen.com, I get about 40-50 press releases a day trying to get one our writers to cover some event or celebrity appearance in Chicago.
This is absurd considering our site is all user-generated content. But we're on lists somewhere and so the PR industrial complex thinks we want to hear about all their fake news. It's really annoying.
I would pay money for a gmail plugin that lets me specify the e-mail addresses of X PR people, and then responds to their press releases automatically with an e-mail from me telling them what it will cost them to buy advertising on our site that promotes the event they're touting.
If they're going to spam me, I would like to be able to spam them.
Most of them will just ignore the e-mails, but they'll get the picture eventually.
Meanwhile, some of them will convert into advertisers. If I pick up $1500/month worth of advertising from this tool, I would gladly pay $30-40/month maybe more for a service that lets me do it.
It could be free for one e-mail address, $29/month for up to 50, and so on and so on.
This way, the indie bloggers out there who can't sell an ad to save their lives but who get bombarded with PR pitches in their inbox all day can automate their sales process a bit AND get the satisfaction of annoying the crap out of the PR people bugging them.
Gmail's vacation responder does all of that except attachments, but you could use the rich formatting of signatures to include links to your media kits.
Slightly more elegant than having it forward to a new email account and have that autorespond to things.
Oh how I long for the good 'ol days when people just paid for value...
So yeah, the thingie that makes it easier for me to do step zero in this process is worth about $40/month in that value chain.
Thinking about the MVP, it would be trivial to write a program that would login to a user's specific POP3/IMAP account, scan for messages from specific senders, and auto-respond. But how would you maintain the list of PR flunkies?
So if this were a rails app, there'd be two models. You'd have Message Templates and Senders.
Message Templates would be subject line, body, signature, and any file attachments.
A sender would consist of an e-mail address, a selected message template, and then some sending settings (how long to wait before writing back, for example). There'd be a button for a sender to be "active" or inactive. If a sender is "active" and has a message template associated with it, then when an e-mail comes in, the sender sends back the template tied to it.
Then maybe each sender would have some stats about how its performing, how many times it executed, what the open rate on those e-mails was, if there was a response etc etc.
PR exists to serve its clients. Control and spread specific messages is the job. I don't think anyone has any illusion about that.
Tech industry and tech journalism is weird. Most of the writers do not investigate or do any leg work for that matter (hauling their asses to WWDC is apparently too much work and too costly, so they demand realtime webcast). The majority of tech blog posts are dressed up PR pieces maybe with some attempt snarkiness and editorialization, the others are scoops(with fuzzy pictures!!!) or reviews or personal opinion/rant.
The gist is this: we do not get truth or plain news anymore (or ever did). The media have their angles and the companies represented by the PR firm have agendas too, but together they produce large amount of purposeful info everyday and millions of clicks. If this symbiotic relationship can be defined as war, then yes and Oceania is at war with Eurasia.
There are partisans in the world, get over it. We have to deal with their bullshit, or be overwhelmed with it.
The fact that nobody is giving it to you straight doesn't mean that we don't have interests that should be served, nor does it mean that we shouldn't speak up.
"A pox on all houses" is a convenient expression to reach for when frustrated, but it's not a functioning strategy to live by. I know what my interests are. I'll take the story, when it's relevant.
Facebook could have gone with a native iOS app, granted that's what most companies do who are specifically trying to target iOS.
But is it really necessary to reach for far fetched reasons why they'd want to go with the web app approach instead? I mean, Facebook is a web app. Their developers are web developers, the vast majority of their developers are hired for their skills and penchant for web development.
Then of course we have the slew of other good attributes of web development, to which Facebook are already accustomed. Like being able to update the app several times a day if they so choose, without Apple's adult supervision and delay.
Do we really need to look any further than that for reasons why Facebook went with the web as their chosen platform? I don't think so, I think it makes a lot of sense for Facebook to go with the web app approach. That Project Spartan uses mobile Safari, not webkit in general, as their target platform kind of shows that there isn't a hell of a lot of anger towards Apple anyways.
Facebook's PR people have an even harder time of it after their privacy settings fiasco. More people take what they say with a larger salt pill than other companies because they have earned a reputation of saying X but doing Y. Not surprised that the TC article implies they are doing the same here.
I fail to understand why anyone would take TC seriously these days, as there are much better sources of tech information where you don't have to worry about journalistic integrity.
I'm not a Facebook fan, but I don't blame them one bit. If MG is complaining about a broken unwritten rule of PR/Journalism, then he should realize that we don't care.
What is the story here? That's the job of PR! Whether journalists buy into the mess is another matter...
I wonder if this will become the norm or if there will be a backlash and people will start to prefer unspun unvarnished truth ?
Their PR team are a prefect example, in Zuckerburg's words, of a "lack of integrity".
The internet will know what you are thinking, and it will use that against you. At some point, a tipping point, those who control the internet will be able to control the rest of society.
The internet can survive a nuclear war. Whoever controls the internet will control the future.