Bloomberg told staff to spy on terminal users

BLOOMBERG encouraged its journalists to monitor users of its terminals in order to find stories, according to a report released yesterday.

The company’s journalists would regularly access users’ login history, personal contact details and could read support messages sent by terminal subscribers.

Bloomberg reporters would also lurk in anonymous chat rooms set up for traders without identifying themselves.

In April the company severely restricted journalists’ access to the data – which was meant to be used for client support purposes – after receiving customer complaints.

Yesterday Bloomberg said it would make radical changes to its internal practices and appoint an independent ombudsman to maintain high press standards.

“We know we needed to evolve, and we have learned from our mistakes,” said Bloomberg CEO Daniel Doctoroff.

The investigation began when the scandal became public in May.

In addition to weighty concerns, the report dealing with journalistic standards also provides a lesson in the misuse of metaphor. It states JP Morgan complained about a 2011 Bloomberg article that compared a bad derivatives deal the bank set up for Monte Cassino with the Nazis’ destruction of the Italian town.

The report concludes that this went “too far”.

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