If you’ve been blogging for a few years, then you’ll probably remember back in 2008 when the Associated Press attempted to sue the popular Drudge Report blog for citing AP articles in several blog posts (read more about that here).
Negative backlash made the AP rethink it’s position within a week back in June 2008, but the result was a fee structure that the AP planned to charge bloggers who cited AP content in their posts (read more about that here). Long story short, the entire situation created nothing but negative publicity for the AP.
Fast forward three years later, and the AP is still trying to fight against social media. This time, Twitter is the target.
According to a great article on Gigaom.com (you can read it here), Matthew Ingram shares a story about the AP admonishing reporters for publishing news through Twitter updates instead of saving it to publish in the AP news wire service. Apparently, the AP has a social media policy that prohibits staff members from tweeting about news material before it is published on the traditional news wire.
Ingram reports that the AP’s social media policy extends beyond just tweeting about stories journalists might be working on. AP reporters are not allowed to post their opinions on any social network, including Twitter. They can’t even retweet another person’s Twitter post. You can read about that story here.
On the flip side, the AP’s top competitor, Reuters, has a much more open social media policy for its employees. Ingram writes that Reuters views Twitter and social media sites as a core part of its business rather than competition for its traditional news wire.
I have to agree with Ingram’s thoughts regarding the AP’s social media policies and actions. First, if Twitter is threatening the AP’s entire news service, then the company’s problem is much larger than restricting employee social media activities can repair. Second, if Twitter is a better, faster source for getting credible news, then the AP needs to find a way to catch up and surpass Twitter rather than try to avoid it.
Let’s put it this way — Twitter isn’t going away. Just as newspapers have had to adapt to the way people access information and news as the web has grown, so do news wires. Few businesses are immune to the affects of the web and social media. The AP can’t stop progress, no matter how hard it tries to keep its employees from tweeting.
What do you think? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.