This is big: Facebook is actively attempting to suppress reporting about one of its directors allegedly getting caught in an underage sex sting

Feb 19th

Buckle up, friends, because it's time for a quick lesson in the high art of news media.

You may have heard rumblings of a Facebook director apparently getting caught in a sordid underage sex sting; you may have even seen some coverage of it at the more high-end media outlets, such as here at Not the Bee.

But don't expect any front-page marquees at the New York Times or the Washington Post anytime soon. Facebook is seeing to that:

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has confirmed to TechCrunch that Jeren A. Miles, who had been a manager of global community development, is no longer employed by the company after a video went viral on YouTube, which was then reposted on Reddit and other sites, featuring him in a sting operation conducted by amateurs with the intent of catching paedophiles...

"The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated. The individual is no longer employed with the company. We are actively investigating this situation and cannot provide further comment at this time," said a statement from a Meta spokesperson provided to us by Drew Pusateri. I'll point out that Pusateri also tried to talk me out of the newsworthiness of this story over the phone before sending over the statement, noting that other outlets were not covering it (thanks for the advice).

Okay okay okay:

Here we digress for a quick lesson in Journalism 101:

In journalism, if a source actively attempts to get you to not report on a story, that means it's really quite a bad story for them.

In most cases, even if a story is very embarrassing or damaging for a source, they'll still play it cool and just give you some sort of canned statement in the hopes that they can just ride the scandal out. It is very rare for a source to try and convince a journalist to not report on something.

Why? Because they run the risk of the reporter revealing those efforts, just like the TechCrunch reporter ended up doing. If you beg a journalist to spike a story, there's a chance that he'll just go ahead and inform his readers that you tried to do soโ€”making you look scared and desperate in the process, and amplifying the scandal beyond its initial ignominy. It's humiliating for that sort of thing to appear in print.

Facebook would only take this gamble if they felt reasonably certain that they could get away with it and actually convince reporters not to run with the story. They misjudged that gamble with TechCrunch, but it's probably the case that they've made similar pleas to reporters at other, more major outlets.

And from the looks of things they've succeeded admirably: There's basically no mainstream media coverage of what should be at the very least a relatively small but still salacious and disgusting scandal at one of the world's top companies.

Facebook is nervous. There's a reason why. Keep watching this story. Let's see where it goes.


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