Why Facebook Confounds the AP

The venerable newswire can't make up its mind about the social network

By Owen Thomas
|  Friday, Jun 26, 2009  |  Updated 12:23 PM CDT
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Why Facebook Confounds the AP

Can Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg point the way for the AP's hopelessly old-school editors?

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The Associated Press loves writing about Facebook. But when it comes to its reporters using the social network, it's a different story.

The newswire has come under fire after issuing a set of ludicrous-sounding rules for employees -- including a requirement that APers on Facebook police friends' comments on their posts.

Meanwhile, here's AP technology writer Barbara Ortutay, writing about the poor showing of CEOs on social networks: "A new study says top CEOs should do a better job managing their presence online, on social sites like Twitter and Facebook and even Wikipedia."

Good thing those guys don't work for the AP, which has told reporters not just to watch what they say online, but to watch what their friends say as well.

The AP's boffins are in good company here: Indonesian clerics also want to regulate behavior on Facebook, according to, yes, the AP.

It's all a headscratcher. AP brass is cracking down on its own reporters even as it tut-tuts about others' clumsy attempts to manage the unruly social network.

Technology to the rescue! Facebook is unveiling new privacy controls which lets you shield messages from specified groups of people. There you go, benighted AP reporters: All you have to do is filter out your technophobic bosses, and all will be well again.

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