Wall Street Journal Investigation Into MySpace Was Quietly Killed

A few days ago the Wall Street Journal published a series of articles about a supposed Facebook privacy breach. We and others noted that the article was complete rubbish.

We also noted that the Wall Street Journal’s sister company, MySpace, wasn’t mentioned in the article – either as a disclosure of a conflict of interest or a discussion of whether MySpace was doing the same thing.

The WSJ was actually investigating MySpace, says a source close to the company, and were planning on publishing the information the investigation uncovered.

MySpace has had three different CEOs in the last two years, as well as a period where they were led by co-presidents. If you count Jon Miller, who runs the whole show, they’ve had four CEOs. Based on MySpace’s overall level of disorganization and constant leadership changes, we’re not surprised that the WSJ investigation landed on their doorstep, and discovered questionable privacy practices.

But the story was shelved.

Why? One source says that MySpace management blew a fuse over the story, which would have been published just days before the big relaunch of the MySpace site.

Press is being briefed now on the new MySpace, and having a big privacy blowup during the relaunch was exactly not what MySpace management wanted to happen.

If the WSJ killed the MySpace article because of pressure from their sister company then they have shown that their editorial agenda is under the control of their parent company, News Corp. If they killed it for another reason, then what is it? The Facebook story was enough for a front page article plus a series of supporting articles.

MySpace’s transgressions appear to go much deeper, so why weren’t they included?

Update: Oh look, just a few hours after this post. The WSJ says our “claim is ridiculous in every sense.” Except that this article was supposed to be published earlier this week, and wasn’t. And never would have been if not for our article. What’s fascinating to me is not only the timing, but also the fact that we clearly were correct in knowing that a MySpace article was written. The WSJ says we’re ridiculous, but the fact that our sources were undeniably right about half the story suggest to me they were right about the other half, too.