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The phone rang last night as I was eating a late dinner. A BBC TV World News producer wanted me to be on a segment about Facebook being hacked. I spent time trying to talk her out of this nonstory. Some employee laptops fell victim to malware. It was fixed. No user data was compromised. But couldn't people's posts be made public? she protested. Well, I said, everything put on Facebook is intended to be shared with someone. This isn't like a bank being hacked. Where's the damage? Where's the story? You are engaging in a technopanic, I complained. Media does this too often, jumping on the latest problem to warn of the danger of this technology rather than doing enough stories on the wonders and opportunities of this new technology. Y'know what, I concluded, I don't want to be part of the segment. Oh, but wait, she said. She talked to her producers and called back to say they wanted me to say this. I'm going to say this is a nonstory and bad news judgment, I told her. It's bullshit, I said, adding that I wouldn't use that word. It's BS. Yes, come on and say that, she said. 

Well, I did. But any hope I had that this would become a sensible segment about why there is no cause for panic was soon dashed. It was the same story they came into this wanting: Hackers! Privacy! Danger! Danger! I told the anchor this was a nonstory. I said the BBC was engaging in technopanic trying to stir up needless fear the world around. I said it was irresponsible. I said it was "crap." Then -- and this is what got me -- Auntie scolded me for my language. "Crap?" Really? I had refrained from using the appropriate word: Bullshit. They cut me off. I took to Twitter to tell Auntie to kiss my ass. 

I'll not say this was my proudest moment in TV history. I was disappointed to be part of another moment in TV technopanic. I was angry that they'd diverted their exercise in poor news judgment into a scolding over the word "crap." 

I should have gone with my first instinct: Leave me out of this. I should have known better than to think that I could convince a TV operation that a story already in the rundown was a nonstory. I should have watched TV rather than being on it. 

I didn't know what the reaction would be today and looked with trepidation. By far most has been positive.
* Here's CNET: 
* Here's Mediaite:
* Even someone who usually wants to torment me agreed:
* Tough journalists on the topic of privacy joined:
Others didn't agree. Some continued to scold for my Twitter language. So be it. I point them to my defense of bullshit:

Judge for yourself. But please also judge the BBC's news judgment. That's what got hacked here. 
Michael Jefferson's profile photoAIC Informatique's profile photoMatt Yearian's profile photoRichard Tilford's profile photo
+Jeff Jarvis This is what happens when the Beeb har to compete with the ratings blockbuster that the Ship of Feces brought to CNN. Sensationalism rules the day. 
Jeff, Why can't these Major Drive By News media types listen to those that actually follow the events of the world on a minute by minute Basis?  For Example, I saw the same youtibe video that was used by Fox News when it had 2-300 views, when they showed it in was in part of the tranding views on youtube and twitter.

Catch you on TWiG every week Jeff!
I'm amazed they wanted you to come on after they had to twist your arm to get you to agree. Also, I think that balance between stories about danger and stories about the positive side of things isn't limited only to tech. 
Well done! It is good that you did this because you are right, the media just want to scare people on things that do not understand. All Facebook did was said this is what has happened, nothing has been compromise and let's get on and learn from it. I just wish media would just take this and do not spin it to something that does not exist. I salute you Jeff Jarvis.
Good for you. The BBC wants to be the fire hose for all news and information. They have a vested interest in keeping people wary of using other shared information services like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
I find it ironic how social media has duped us all....not only in believing social media is some magical, special technology creation, and about "being more social", but that you can expect to post your complete life online for the world to see YET retain privacy?!?

What a joke!
As the man says, no panic, you can only lose what you shared... Hmm hold on, you share everything ? hmmm well...

No panic he said :)
Awesome Jeff, good that you let them have it :)
Turning the non-story privacy aspect of this into a booster for the no-privacy advocates, is just plain wrong.

Sharing things online that are relatively benign, is not synonymous with what nefarious agents can do by gleaning that data and connecting the dots.  Bottom line: people generally have no idea that we now live in a surveillance society.  That's problematic. Humans have genetic blind spots that are easily manipulated.  THAT'S the point. Where people think they are innocently sharing, they're being robbed.
This is absurd. If the media wants to serve they should be talking about the upnp vulnerability instead of garden variety driveby honeypot hacks.
Seems to me that at the end there he's basically using the supposed bad language as a reason to dismiss your statement of fact altogether by apologizing to the viewers.  Really a pathetic move on his part, but anything to make the story seem newsworthy I guess. 
I think you did great! Just what they needed how the viewers needed to hear them get it! 
All I can say is thanks BBC you don't deserve to have the word British in your company name, an embarrassment!

And +Jeff Jarvis you're above this stuff, you're banging you're head against a brick wall trying to convert the mass media. Stick with TWIG, at least you can voice an opinion that doesn't need to grab headlines.

Look forward to watching on Wednesday.
+Jeff Jarvis I agree with your point, but I think you were over the top.  The BBC allowed you to come on and say their story was bull and even though you mightn't find crap offensive doesn't mean others won't - World News is broadcast globally including in public places (like Doctor's Surgeries) and parents could have had kids present for instance.

Sure, the presenter could have handled things better, but I think you've let the side down here Jeff as the BBC may now be reluctant to invite you back.
You can't go on TV and use use words like bullshit and crap. You have to tailor your language to the medium. You should have known this would detail your message. You had the opportunity to introduce the audience to the term FUD. I mean, they pay people a salary to sit on a button waiting to bleep curse words...
The Sheeple love technology thats easily hacked, like Android phones, monopoly driven search engine vendors, and Facebook.

Anything that spreads our personal data all over the web for people to steal and that makes monolithic search engines and social media corporations billions in offshore tax free dollars is the technological world we elected to build and the world we keep supporting! When will we learn??? We certainly are hypocrites when we complain about it. We arent doing a damn thing to change it...thats for sure!

Be careful for what you ask for you just might get it!
+Christopher Walsh I did not say "bullshit." I know the rule even if I disagree with it. But I have never heard "crap" being condemned as corrupting language. That's just crap. It was a diversion.
Killer bees, snakes in mailboxes, technopanic,... 
Agreed, it could have been handled better. I absolutely love the fact you accepted an interview to tell them that this interview shouldn't exist though, so meta! Looking forward to next TWiG.
An on air BBC retreat
1. a big story (please); 
2. story of general interest; and
3. a point worth discussing. 

Followed by an apology for the word crap. 

Crap is a good word. 
Bless you 'Mr Jarvis'.
You are completely right & the 'story' (as reported/their angle) is BS/crap - your frustration righteous.
It's unfortunate you lost your cool, a calm & challenging deconstruction of their (dumb) editorial line would have been a better tactic.
I love your honesty/integrity though!
No one in britain would of seen the interview as it's the middle of the night here.  Between 9pm and 6am anything goes language wise, you can eff and blind all you like, you can also say crap on daytime tv without fear of an outcry from a daily mail reader.

Your graveyard interviewer was probable using it as an excuse as he saw his chance of being promoted to doing holiday cover for daytime BBC News 24 quickly disappearing.

Recommend you stick to live interviews between 6am-11pm in the UK so you don't get the trainee or has-been news presenters.
Never go into a TV interview when you're pissed off about the topic. Unless you're a Republican being interviewed by Fox News, in which case the opposite applies.
Good one +Jeff Jarvis! Telling Aunty off is what the audience really needed to hear. Such stuff shirts. I hope you feel better for it now!
+Jeff Jarvis I've heard people being offended by the word "crap" here in the UK. I don't understand it, but I have heard a few ask people not to use the word.

Whilst I completely agree with your point, I think you could have been much more effective if you had realised that they didn't want you using the word and had stopped repeating it and continued your argument.

Don't try and pass it off as simple diversion, because I genuinely don't think it was. It isn't considered offensive where you're from? Fine, it wasn't where I was from in Manchester, UK - I moved a bit further south and I encountered a few people who did. 
Jeff, it was several different zero-days attack. That is far more than just "some employee just got some malware". It was definitely a targeted attack.
but +Jeff Jarvis how are we going to tell the people what they need to be worried about if we do not make up stories?
I think there is a cultural clash here, looks like the word crap has different meaning between the UK and the US.. 
Never let poor judgement get in the way of a crappy news story. 
I like the transition. "We aren't trying to create a panic. Next up: 10 tonne meteor packing the power of an atomic bomb.."
Tim Box
Brilliant well done. Though i have to say it sounds more like the daily mail than the BBC.
Someone does not want to be back on the BBC.
I totally agree it is a BS story what was the purpose ?? Thank you Mr. Jarvis for telling it how it is 
What should offend them isn't playground words, but a culture in the process of isolating itself from Europe. ("Inside voice!")

How about a balanced story on that?
Curse you for talking dirty. ;)
Tim Box
If its any compensation it was on at 3am and no one was watching.
+Scott John Harrison Ya gotta love a government bureaucracy dedicated to determining whether "crap" or "Jesus Christ" is worse swearing. Your tax dollars pounds at work. 
If you would have said 'pardon my French' before you said 'crap', it would have been all good. ;)

Seriously, This why talking heads and pundits become less credible all the time. Good on you for trying to bring some sensibility to the world.
Way to go Jeff! I understand and sympathize with your frustration with some in the media who attempt to create a story from something like this. This was an irresponsible thing for BBC to do. I for one thank you!

As for the use of the word "crap", they'll get over it.
Must admit I was surprised to see how much you lost your cool on this one...
This is fucking great. Thank you +Jeff Jarvis for being real and calling out BS to these so called "journalists". 
+Jeff Jarvis It takes much less effort to feign offense than it does to effect meaningful change and discuss important issues in a spirited fashion.

I don't need to tell you that the effortless route is the one frequently chosen here.
I'm totally with you on the message you were trying to deliver, but I just can't help thinking there was a better way to go about it, which is pretty much what you already said in your post.  So, I'm not sure if I'm really adding anything to the conversation here.  Oh well, where's that post comment bu--..........
Heh, that was sorta funny. :)
Well, +Jeff Jarvis, maybe you could have made your point with a slightly less straightforward style but, even if you did, I don't think it would have made any difference. They already had their script made up, and they weren't going to change it. Apologising for the "language" sounded more like a way to discredit you, for not going along with their programming.

On the other hand, it might have been interesting to see how the news anchor would have handled if you had tried to disagree with their script with a more PC style, a one matching his. Oh well, probably it would have ended the same way, with your being cut off, only after a few more seconds. :)
Apparently the mainstream media is doomed, beyond any help.  Too bad that includes even the BBC.
+Jeff Jarvis 
Jeff…Jef…'s not about news, it's about ratings. A rogue cop is in a gun battle around Big Bear. Every network covers it for hours and hours (only commercials give us a break), the before, during, and the after. It was a MIRACLE that noting else newsworthy happened in the US during that time. In fact, I'll bet the world crime rate came to a halt while everyone world-wide was tuned in. What was it the "wise man" once said,  "never let a good crises go to waste."

Newsrooms have to keep up with their competition. They might suffer a ratings loss if they fail to cover the same thing. I hope you are preparing those new "journalists" for the world they are going to soon enter. Nielson first, sponsors next, maintain the same news sources as your competition, and shovel the "crap" as needed! (But don't call it that! - Call it news!)
Most TV News is just Knee jerk reaction , so basically not the news, just exaggerated /spun opinion.

Euronews "No Comment" is the only progressive innovation I have seen in TV News media. We need a media scraper with all the facts and no comments.

Automated Weather Forecast  is just a no brainer, anyway.
That was simply brilliant. They tried to steer you back into it but my hat is off to you for not letting it happen. 
Most media is knee jerk, most people knee jerk, that doesn't mean every knee jerk will never align to be an appropriate reaction, even if that reaction is ill informed.

Jeff is knee jerking to the media knee jerk in a way that both are ill informed.

The Facebook guys are not noobs.  They're hackers.  That they got a zero day on their dev laptops is a cause for concern.

It doesn't matter if the media happens to knee jerk on it inappropriately and without even realizing what they're saying is actually worthwhile.
Both Jeff and Jonathan are entitled to their somewhat polarised opinions, but from the point of view of the majority of normal internet users, this is a mere storm in a glass of water so far. Perhaps the ADHD mainstream media should do some old-fashioned work, namely some research and background checks (old-school journalism) first, before calling it a Big Story. Based mostly on FB being a big site.

But no damage done in this case on either side, Both Jeff and the BBC 'gracefully' agreed to disagree. :)
+Jeff Jarvis  If the item was before 9 pm, then it would be before 'the watershed'. Afraid there are rules on what you can say, and show, on TV in the UK before 9 pm.  The channels don't set the rules, but they have to abide by them or they get slapped by the regulator. You never know, but I bet they receive hundreds of complaints.  That's the UK for you: children with ages in single figures, swearing in the streets in front of their parents, their parents showing their pride as every f-bomb is released. Yet you are not being allowed to say crap on TV before 9 pm because the kiddies might hear it.  Outmoded rules or lack of parenting skills and decline of 'moral standards' - I will leave you to decide.
+Jeff Jarvis The issue is not that some lame crap on Facebook might be exposed.  The issue is that developers of the magnitude of Facebook, and who these type of people are, got hacked by a zero day. 

This is a significant.  And there's potentially an underlying story here when you consider that CISPA bill is up again.

Read between the lines.
+Jeff Jarvis if you think that's bad, you should hear what +BBC News's Paris correspondent  Hugh Shofield said about the French economy on December 30 -- he called it an "antideluvian economic backwater" whose economy had "flatlined" even though their stock market was at a year high after bottoming right before the French presidential election, and their government borrowing interest rates were at an all time low.
Way to go!  Seems like no story at all gets done these days if it hasn't any panic value.
Out of Google+ developers, Twitter developers, and Facebook developers, which development group is more like hackers than anyone?  I think Facebook developers are.  Facebook developers are more knowledgeable than anyone in this realm.  I'd say Google has some smart people, obviously, but Google locks down their shit pretty tight and doesn't give nearly as much interop (or UI/UX) as Facebook has.   Compare the Facebook Apps API with the limited Google+ API.

Facebook holds hacking competitions, don't they?
He goes on to say a meteor with the power of an atomic bomb crashed to Earth in Russia.  That's a bit of an exaggeration.  The destinations it hit are hardly consistent with nuclear weapons fire.
Well.. FB saved a lot of money by not paying taxes, I guess it can buy anyone.. just sayin'
I work for +BBC News (as social media editor) but I don't work on the BBC World News channel on which this interview appeared, and I have no inside knowledge about it.

Jeff, you say above that you were clear to the producer in advance you were going to call BS on the story. If the programme's only interest was in creating 'technopanic', why did they still have you on? The first question to you was: "Is this a big story?".

In the interview you say it's irresponsible to report the hack was a "cause for panic", and then that it's irresponsible to say "people should be scared around the world". The interviewer (and BBC reporting I've seen on the story) never said or suggested that. Or anything close to it.

You say above that media don't do enough stories on the wonders and opportunities of this new technology. Just a few minutes after your appearance, on the same channel, was the latest edition of +BBC Click - the BBC technology strand which does exactly that.

I'd agree the issue of 'technopanic' coverage by the media is one worth discussing and addressing. I'd also agree your approach here doesn't seem the right way to do it.

The energy in the meteors shockwave, according to scientific calculations (NASA), was the equivalent of 30 Hiroshima bombs. That the energy was not concentrated in a single blast is fortunate. 
As for "the developers of the magnitude of Facebook," when it comes to security and being hacked, Windows, for example, has been like a firewall made of swiss cheese for almost  two decades now. It had no shortage of viruses and hack attacks, and during that period it used to reach almost 98 percent market penetration at its peak. It had more users than FB has today. Somehow the world still haven't collapsed, though. Maybe it should have, but it didn't, and there was no big story.
There is still no big story to panic about. Unless one wishes to purposefully distract the big audience. 
+Erkki Juurus The world hasn't collapsed, but it also gave rise to Stuxnet, specifically through the creation of that swiss cheese.

One has to distinguish panic from concern.
Great to see the beeb attempting to balance a story with an important counter argument to any sensationalism out there. Shame you didn't take the opportunity to make it in a clearer less emotional way.
A non story, about a non story. 
"One has to distinguish panic from concern."

Sounds like now you are agreeing with Jeff, after all. That was his point in that interview, (albeit a bit emotionally presented), wasn't it. I'm glad that you two got your disputes sorted out.  ;-)
Digressing, DOES facebook have a "download all your data" function like anyone's Google account? 
FB gets hacked for the same reason people make viruses for Microsoft. It's so fun to mess with them people! :-) 
Crapgate:  Brits throughout the empire feint in terror as crass American man ruthlessly attacks using a known word of mass destruction!
Even though you are correct. You can't just go on TV and say it's crap. You need to have reasoned arguments and point out what the truth to the story is, there is a good chance the presenter has no clue to the technology involved, so you could have detailed what it meant. A wasted opportunity to peacefully put things right.
Well done Jeff ,news organisations give me the sh.ts too ,the over hyping is unbelievable we have a similar situation here in Australia with the drugs in sports issues 
NOBODY can force you to say sth on TV. That shows a lack of personality from you Mr. Jarvis. Your attitude towards the interview/er was negative and tough since the very beginning. There are several ways to express your ideas, and  yours was not the most appropriate one at all. It is clear the BBC made a huge mistake through that call and  producer, but you decided to go on with that interview and take part in that game. 
Some times I wonder what's happened to the BBC Jeff. All they seem to do is push government opinion as fact. This dumb story should come as no surprise to lemons in the UK. The government wants control of the Internet in the UK this fud and fearmongering story is just to serve this. You should see the latest protect the children rubbish adverts there pushing. Asserting paranoia is a reason to suspect your child is being abused. The old if it can happen it must happen. Very well done Jeff showing these lemons up. 
It was not the content of Mr. Jeff´s opinion which to my mind was wrong, but the WAY he did it. Mr. Jeff is right, but he showed himself as a mad man in front of thousands of people.
Media need to be more criticized for their drama headlines in the public - well done. Of course this was maybe a bit heavy, but on the other side this will hopefully make some people think about it. If it would have been a normal discussion it would have been out of peoples mind within seconds. 
no jeff was completely right the bbc has change dramatically from a good organization to something that revivals north Korea sate controlled television.

here's the advert i was talking about in a previous post you'll see the same thype of fearmongering used here too.
Don't wait until you're certain - NSPCC TV Advert   
You´re right Miss Sikorski. But let´s be honest, without that DRAMA people do not watch TVnews. However, the BBC should get rid of that drama in order to become a real example for other news broadcasters.
Ha! Jeff, you're such a grumpy old bastard! Old media don't understand hacking. They can't tell a DDoS from a tracking cookie. So you have to be gentle with them - explain it to them. You won't get anywhere by getting cross, not on British telly. That's just not how we do things over here, what what?

And no one's panicking. The news overplays all danger. Just hear them talk about the meteor exploding "with the force of an atomic bomb!"

It's not old media bias, it's what all media does - make a big fuss over nothing in a desperate plea for attention. Remind you of anyone?
Standing Up for those who cannot. GREEN 
Even though it's not a bank, It doesn't make it ok to hack into someones data. It's like saying someone got robbed, but he has plenty of money and it doesn't hurt him. 
How much is fb paying you to defend it?
This isn't interviewer entrapment, its encrapment
Wow. Good for you. Stick it to the BBC.
Simply for lying to you.
I think that it was because they were in a panic about loosing control they used any excuse to terminate. What they did was crap.
Just goes to show that people should not put too much info in fb. If it gets hack then so what. 
crap is not a curse word in the UK 
Way to go +Jeff Jarvis, wish more people could go on air and put these tabloid medias in their place for the jokes they are.
I think it's great that there are people like you +Jeff Jarvis that have the balls to tell these "reports" how it is on live tv where they can't really stop you from voicing your opinion.
The use of the term "zero day" in this thread is evidence that the BBC is winning. Ok, so a few Facebook developers got hit by a driveby malware "attack". So did 11 million other people, big deal. This isn't news. You don't see them reporting on how many bank, hospital, and police dept. employees were hit by the same malware. 
if the facebook toilet paper would get released THAT would be news
Wow, I'm not sure if being compared with Alex Jones is really a good thing. 

Right now +Jeff Jarvis is likely saying to himself, "Gee, I wish these guys wouldn't compare to me to that crazy fool Alex Jones, but I don't really want to correct them because they're my fans."  Or, he is ignoring the comments.  Or, I'm wrong and he is a Jones fan which would be surprising. 

It's fascinating how popular figures garner wide ranging fan boys, and I always wonder to what degree these type of figures are willing to correct the supporters that claim to suppor their arguments in ways that they don't actually agree with. 
Just a little too much hate their but better than going along with it.
Jeff was making the right point and it is courageous to go on these bullshit shows and say the right thing knowing they will ultimately turn off your mic.  But here it felt to me he was doing it overly aggressively - like he came out with all the anger he'd built up from thinking about the issue and talking to these bozos ahead of time, anger which felt sensible to him but I as the viewer, one even predisposed to side with Jeff, found his angle of approach to be steep and panicked in it's own right. 
That said, calling the word crap "language" is disingenuous cock snot.
I suspect this is why we don't have more facts on the news, they get in the way of a good story.
I doubt you'll be hearing from BBC producers any time soon... You're still a champion in my book! Keep up the good work in calling bad journalism on their "crap" reporting!
This was fantastic, Jeff.  I applaud you for setting them straight and calling them out.  A million kudos!
Leo G
Well Jeff there goes any chance you ever had at Knighthood.  Well I guess you could always pay Dvorak for one. ;)  Great job, passionate as well. Kudos!
This is awesome. On ALL the levels. I do IT in my spare time and most of my time is wasted explaining this to users.
+Jeff Jarvis You might not care about being on the BBC and having the worlds largest media organization as a platform, but in that case you shouldn't sit in judgement on old media not getting it if your unwilling to make a effort .
+Jeff Jarvis Good work! I bet you were expecting them to go with the technopanic story even after you told them off before the interview.
+Jeff Jarvis I applaud you. The are far more important news to cover than a facebook hack. Especially for such company as BBC. More than a 1000 people we injured because of the meteorite in Russia but we have to be scared someone might make public our baby or wedding photos. That is if they were leaked. 
The media is a large driver of the stifling attitude that holds us all back when it comes to technology. I appreciate that you are taking a stand.
+Jeff Jarvis as a Brit who has worked in North America quite a lot, I think this is way more simple than the discussion suggests. You've conflated two unconnected things here. One: your view that the story was rubbish and two: using the word "crap" on a live BBC broadcast.

You had pre-agreed with the flip-flopping commissioning editor that you would say the story was without merit. That can hardly be the issue then. If you'd said it was without merit, utter rubbish, baseless, pointless, laughable, you'd have been 100% fine. The problem is that you used the word "crap" and that is seen by some, not all, in the UK, as an unacceptable word. And that could have happened if you were discussing this story, one you were positive about ("dissenting views are, frankly, crap") or the price of fish ("the cost of cod is now, tbh, crap"). Would have been the same problem. 

You thought that he was saying to you "please don't hold the view this is crap". He wasn't. He was saying "please don't use the word 'crap'" 

You're just just the nth guy to be caught out by local language sensitivities. Keith Richards caused uproar in mainstream US in the 60's by saying he could really do with a fag. He meant cigarette. Try saying you admire a bit of spunk in a man in the UK and watch the tea get spat across the room in amusement.

I think, unfortunately, your passion for the topic and your irritation with the exec (justified imho) has led you to misunderstand the issue and so your stance against this is, unfortunately, a non-issue. If it's any comfort, my ex-US boss got caught out on the same shit with errr "crap" in front of a British audience. You got it wrong for local language sensitivity purposes and misunderstood what was being said back to you. You, me, my ex-boss and a million others have the t-shirt.
While I personally find that yelling or talking over someone is not the best way to get a point across, I would definitely say you are correct.... This is just the media trying to latch onto something, anything really to grab headlines and attention. With all the different news outlets out there they have to find some way to keep everyone's attention and 'big scary Internet monsters' is a great way to get that attention and ratings. It's sad really. 
i completely agree with you jeff. i have not seen a single story on google glass for instance but the second some piece of malware gets into someones computer, regardless of the fact that the issue is fixed in 30 seconds. the media likes to create a fiasco about it. it's no wonder more and more people are turning away from tv and radio and going online for their news sources and stories
I agree yelling isn't the best way. But you are right we just have to watch what we do online
So how bad is the word crap in the UK?  What's a comparative word in the US that would hold the same level of shock if uttered during a live interview on TV?
+Jeff Jarvis Wow! From CNN to BBC.  You're moving up in the world. Before you know it, you'll be on NJTV!
+Jeff Jarvis you had a point (or two) but you weren't professional in your delivery. I'm sorry Jeff but you're wrong even though you're quite right.
i think if someone is spreading crap and bullshit then you should be allowed to tell them they're spreading crap and bullshit. he isn't willy wonka and he shouldn't have to fucking sugar coat shit
Honestly I think you overreacted a bit. The anchor seemed to just want to get the info out, even if there was no harm. He wasn't trying to silence you. The title of the headline was bad, but there have been a lot of hacking lately so it's not irresponsible to relate the story. Yes, facebook getting hacked is no big deal in the end but there are some people that buy stuff on facebook and perhaps their only source of info is this news show. 
Good to see that there are still journalists with brains who take responsibility serious. They have unfortunately become very scarce.
You go Jeff.

In regard to using the word 'crap', the beeb is well known for allowing 'shit' in entertainment programs. The reporter was clearly looking for an excuse to discredit your valid criticism. 
+Jeff Jarvis, Ofcom matches the FCC for this purpose and they are just as bad, ref "oh no a breast on live television, we must have five minute tape delays to prevent such disasters in the future", plus those famous "seven dirty words" George Carlin joked about.
Sorry +Jeff Jarvis I am a fan, but I agree with some of the others, I think you overreacted. You could have turned the focus of the report around and talked about how the hack was detected, or the importance of exploit finding programs/contests like the one Google hosts. But from that edit, it looked like you were attacking the news agency before they really made any point about the situation. Right as your argument is, I don't think this was the time for it.
But, shit happens, we just need to take note of mistakes made and move on. 
Well, you see what you've demonstrated is the ancient adage which ensures the survival and flourishing of propaganda institutions, and always has done : "Every man has his price"
Good on you for calling them out. Crap is acceptable language over here. You can even say piss or pissed before the watershed and no one bats an eye (farscape was broadcast at 6pm every week and the word often popped up). You are correct, this is BS. This is making people panic needlessly. This is malware
Also many other companies get malware on their computers all the time. Now if this had got to the servers there would be a problem and that would be a story.
You only have to look at the way the media savaged Sony over the PSN hack when they were doing all the correct things (encrypting CC, only storing password salts etc) however the +BBC News were reporting all sorts of inaccuracies and internet hearsay as fact.

I used to respect BBC, but in the last few years, there news has gone the way of American sensationalist news reporting. 
+Jeff Jarvis Jeff, I don't buy in the technopanic killer-argument. Maybe BBC TV World News were heading in a report direction that was not what one could call balanced. OK, I get that. And its just not good journalism.

However, I am not a fan of the appeasement argumentation either. This topic is neither something to panic about- but also we should not underestimate it. Data Safety should be one of our top concerns, living in a world that is more and more dependent on data- data storage, data sharing and data privacy. 
Miracle cures or scare stories, whether it is a medical,science or technology story that will always be the mass media slant. That's the inevitable result of employing humanities graduates under pressure to be heard in the 24 hour media age. Sad but true.
Your the man +Jeff Jarvis . Too much crap and no hard hitting reports in the news getting the 5 Ws. Media today leaves one with a big W wounder;) +TWiT #1
Fb has become too much much from employers lookin at ur profile to loggin onto a website with ur fb has serious privacy issues as well. 
Is it just me or does this guy seem to be blindly defending Facebook as if he's getting paid for it..

This isn't a non-story really because it shows that Facebook is susceptible to hackers like any other thing that is connected to the web..

Its a matter of when a massive data breach will happen not if.. And the BBC was correct to report on something like this.. Because it highlights that you have to be careful on what you do online as everything can be hacked when its connected..

I don't understand the reason why this guy didn't want to talk.. Maybe he didn't understand that this shows that Facebook can and will be hacked.. And that it contains over one billion members.. That's a lot of data to be able to harvest from..
That was totally in context.  You're dead right.  It's crap.

Thank you for calling a spade a spade.
Andy P
Seemed unnecessarily aggressive. You can make your point without ranting like a child. In my opinion.
Sean G
I think its Great +Jeff Jarvis ... This is why G+ & social media are Great. & without seeing your side and the Background of dirty media.
Could tell you were worked up. Because how they played it... & totally understand.
Its about time someone Called them on Technopanic BS. Esp. on this scale. Anything to get a Story w FB in it.
& to me FB is crap.
It is social media. what are you going to steal & your right. FAR better things to Focus on.
Well Done Sir... Bravo. Laughed, funny...
Sean G
Had to add you to my Cool Peps
+Jeff Jarvis You did nothing wrong. Maybe your emotions got the better of you, but your point was spot on.
Talk about the Beeb sticking its arm into the hornet's nest.
BBC News will always chastise bad language, it's a habit they'll find hard to break even at 3am. Saying you could do a lot worse did make you sound a bit like a crazy loon, to British ears anyway. It's an important message to get across though. 
+Jeff Jarvis For the record, you are my hero. Telling the producer that story is crap is one thing, but going on air and saying that is another entirely. Good on you for telling the truth even if it's not the preferred storyline.
I am amazed how many stupid people are on this thread and how many presumably follow Jeff. I realize nobody will self evaluate or accept that they are stupid.

The BBC is who they are and it has changed to report in the way that they do as a reaction to ratings by stupid people that want to see things that would cause a panic.

Everything these days, like the media and Congress is a crutch, a way to feel not dumb, to have something clearly flawed to critique. One might argue that is what I am doing.

The BBC can't report on a minor DoS attack to a city website or the stealing of a state database because it is not what will get ratings. This is the system people claim to want. So when Facebook get's hacked, they can report on it because there are a ton of morons that would care as a sign of a losing battle against hackers.

Stop being ignorant already. Jeff, you should have thrown that anger at the idiots kissing your butt.  You should have attacked the people that like seeing that show despite any supposed bullshit journalism. 

If this level of honesty doesn't win me friends, so be it.
+Jeff Jarvis  Making a point with class and feeling strongly about a subject are not mutually exclusive. You behaved, with respect, like a colossal horse's rear. You say, "there's no story here", then come over all insultingly aggrieved when the presenter tries to end the interview. The presenter should get a gold medal for restraint. 
I believe this was a missed opportunity to enlighten the BBC audience on hacking and data privacy in the broader context. For instance, even if no sensitive user information was compromised by this hack, should we be more careful in our use of social media sites? How often is sensitive data hacked, and what damage is done when it happens? Instead, the BBC audience learned that this particular incident, considered in isolation, might be no cause for alarm, and boy, that Internet chap is one intemperate Yank.
Even if no data was taken, source code could have been taken (or code inserted which looked like a valid developer change).  Even if source code and Facebook data is assumed to be meaningless, which is DEBATABLE, it's still significant that someone on the level of Facebook developers was hacked by a Java zero day, considering their history related to hacking, and this is SIGNIFICANT.

To me, this is showing that Jeff was the wrong person to call to ask on this issue.  The technopanic issue needed to be sorted out for what it's worth and put into proper perspective.  To have the appropriate concern placed in the appropriate place, and not to diminish any justifiable concern because it might be confused or misplaced.

This was an opportunity to make people smarter.  Jeff used it to make it worse.  What a failure.
One thing we can be pretty certain of : Mr Jarvis won't be using any controversial words on the BBC in the foreseeable future - even in a pre-recorded interview!
I just watched the video again.  And, I'm trying to find a single reason for Jeff's reaction.  The guy asks if it's a big story because Facebook is a big site.  What did the guy say?  Why can't Jeff answer the question asked?

In a way, Jeff is saying that he shouldn't have been called to answer the question.  So, it begs the question, why did he answer the call?  With that in mind, it comes off as there being more to the story.  Did Jeff want to make the BBC look bad?  Or, did he come from being pissed off about another journalist doing a bad job at something, or a related story?

Or is Jeff just wrapped up too much in himself or something?  Or was he just in a bad mood for personal reasons?  It seems like Jeff should apologize to the BBC host for his strange loaded reaction.

Is the story about reporting on the story, or the story about Facebook being hacked and whether it's a significant breach by China or just a minor nothing? 

There's been a lot of of "G+ is a ghost town" stories going around.  And such a strong attack on the BBC talking about what I actually consider a news worthy story about Facebook, comes off and being bullshit with some Facebook lobbyist hiding behind the scenes somewhere.
The truth appears to be that neither the BBC nor Jeff Jarvis really know the exact details of who or what was hacked and how.  All is known is a brief statement on Facebook's page.  This was a sophisticated hack and all the details have not really been released (or have they?).

So, to say it's meaningless seems pretty ill informed.
Jeff could have said, "Well, Facebook is a big site but just because it's big and widely used doesn't necessarily mean a significant data loss, if any, occurred.  Especially if Facebook is saying no data was loss.  However, since these were development machines, it's possible that production level source code was taken, or that new projects Facebook was working on was stolen, or that code was inserted as if they were developers and Facebook now needs to re-evaluate whether any back doors or weaknesses were introduced."

An/or, he could have generally said that this is just an indicator that really protected sites like Google and Facebook are becoming less secure due to malware that can affect a variety of machines through Java.  That this is similar to the way Stuxnet can and was delivered or spread, and even though this was Facebook, it's an indicator of how governmental systems can be accessed when their users don't keep them updated.
+Jonathan Langdale Slow down for five seconds: the BBC news-reader's reaction is to do with the use of the word "crap", not the view Jeff holds. It's not an ok word on the BBC. Its usage is not as acceptable as it is in the US. Plain and simple. There's a post up above that points out that Stiff Little Fingers wrote a song called "You can't say crap on the radio" having previously got this t-shirt. Very, very simple and everyone should get off their high-horse because it's not connected to the viewpoint Jeff expressed!

Unconnected to the above, this newsreader is dealing with terrible world events, famines, terror atrocities as staple items on a daily basis. In that context, throwing a fit about a view on hacking when people can keep their composure on far, far worser and more important stories was also going to faze him. In that context, the reaction looks a bit.. silly...
+Gareth Johnson

The use of the word crap is meaningless.   And the newsreaders don't really care about the slaves that continue to exist in the world.  They want exciting car crashes, or they want to talk about iPad and Andriod devices.

This is what actually occurred in this back and forth, parsed for you:


Is this a big story?  Facebook is big.  Should we be concerned?


No, I am now going to blow up your asking me if this is worth being concerned into an inflated sense of crazed techno panic, and I'm going to now say you suck at journalism for even calling me to ask the question.


No sorry, we're not saying that.  You're putting words in our mouth.  But obviously, a lot of people use Facebook and they might be interested to know about this, and Twitter was also hacked.  Even Facebook admits they are not alone in this hack.  Even though you've said I'm an irresponsible journalist in a dickish way, I'm going to be really nice and explain our position.  Do you have any actual details about the hack beyond what everyone else knows?


How dare you ask me for more details that I don't really have.  I'm just responding to the same announcements you read.  I really have no other information and I'm not really an expert on this.  So, I'm going to substitute my inadequacy of knowledge, lack of details about hacking with further attacks on you.  A "few laptops" were hacked, that's it.   This is "crap." This interview shouldn't exist, I wish you had not called me, even though I'm probably getting paid for it?


Wow, I really wish I could go off on your ass right now you self-righteous asshole.  But, because I don't want to lose my job, and because I want to remain the better person, I'm going to keep being nice to you and explain what I know to be a better position, which is to say that our position is that this is a fine well and good story to be talking about in a reasonable way.   I only wish you'd answer my questions instead of being a dick.


I want to talk about the media and not the hack.

Now if this is not a truthful parsing of the interview, please tell me where I am wrong.  +Jeff Jarvis You should immediately issue a full apology and say that you didn't take your medication.
Actually I agree with you +Jonathan Langdale in that that is subject one and I have a lot of sympathy with the "translation" job.

Subject two is the use of "crap" and probably "bs" which the interviewer makes quite clear is a problem for the purposes of live broadcast:

Newsreader: "No, no, no... it's just the nature of your language" followed by a second "it's just the nature of the language... " followed by a third "apologies for the language in that interview there with Jeff Jarvis."

Jeff's conflated one and two when they have nothing to do with each other. Amazing to get so much mileage out of self-righteousness and not listening to other people.
+Gareth Johnson Well, I guess there's another debate to be had on the use of the word "crap."  I agree it meaningless, with the things that are on broadcast these days. 

"Nature of your language" could be mean to apply broadly to Jeff's entire language throughout, beyond "crap."  That's how I took it.

If the BBC makes a big deal over "crap" then they're stupid.  It's something that the pissed off producer can use to say they should ban Jeff, or something.  I'm sure some people were really pissed off following this.

I'm curious if Jeff has already attempted to apologize to them to keep his prospect of being called on open, in a way of making the case he was trying to make by saying he made it in a bad way, but not conceding the point as to this being a decent story to cover.
The other thing to consider is that the talking head probably doesn't even pick the stories.  Jeff's "beef" was with a guy off camera, I think.
 I could be wrong.

However, if I'm right, it's a bit unfair to the poor talking head to which most people attribute Jeff's "irresponsible" comments, if they even do. If there are people critical of the BBC as a media source, I'd be curious why they're watching it.  I'd assume most "fans" of the show or channel are probably thinking Jeff is a twat, or whatever British term they might use.
You know, a lot of stupidity goes on these days.  By neocons, gun nuts, etc.  And journalism is bad, true.  But Jeff is someone who usually writes a lot of good articles I've liked to read and I follow his posts, or sometimes when he's on a Hangout with +Leo Laporte or something.  And I think it's really cool he speaks his mind in an honest way.  We need more of that.

What pissed me off about this interview is how someone I thought was cool was so wrong.  In a way, it's embarrassing.  And to see everyone kissing his butt, etc. it makes it seems worse than I thought it was with the general G+ community.

It's disgusting how eager people are to gang up despite the obvious.  This is like a political debate where both slides, liberal and conservatives are both in bubbles. 

Think for yourselves already.  If Jeff is pissed that the media does this bullshit over silly stories when people are dying in Syria, then stop ganging up with pitch forks because it feels good to feel you're aligned with the "smart" side of an argument, even if you're not.
Well, +Jeff Jarvis  was right in saying that the story was non-existent, but from the moment he accepted to speak on air, he should have, somehow, made the point why it was non-existent. I think that the whole thing started on the wrong foot when he used "you", instead of keeping it generic and impersonal, making it sound as if he was attacking the newsreader, instead of attacking the notion that the story was newsworthy. On the whole, BBC is not a tabloid outlet and they tend to check and double-check their stories, before using them, so I believe that they genuinely wanted to hear why it wasn't a big deal, from a guru. They should have known better than call +Jeff Jarvis  while he was having dinner! But then, since when are journalists ready to take no for an answer?
Good for you, the Beeb had that coming. Cutting you off for what was mild exasperation, is a bit rich when some employees of our esteemed 'national treasure' turned a blind eye to the excesses of one Mr J. Saville. 
Why you so angry Jeff? Facebook makes an effort to promote privacy simply to hold on to some of their users.  If that was breached, perhaps this is a story.  
Good for you for calling a spade a spade Jeff.  If only more contributors to TV news would do that more often, and correct bad ideas by producers, the news would be more trusted.  Kudos!
Avrom H
Love you Jeff!
Archie Bunker said crap in the seventies. The news reader was getting his head handed to him by Jeff and clutched on to crap being offensive. This is as bad as when Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross got in trouble for phony phone calls. It's a non story and crap is non-offensive.
No-one should have anything to do with the BBC!
I wished more would confront the media (especially CNN) on their general  'news as entertainment' perversion of journalism. Good on you Mr. Jarvis!
All media exist for the benefit of their owners, whether this is the state, the military or private enterprise. This creates a philosophy that the jobs exist for the benefit of those doing them. In UK this means maintaining the class system and creating a consumer population that is tame and passive.
The scientists have created the web: a magnificent and brilliant achievement that offers humanity it's greatest opportunity since God promised to look after Moses in the wilderness. But now artists writers and communicaters have to take responsibility for their own actions: to believe you can do this whilst still working for the media is to kid yourself. You will always be part of the brainwashing while you do
That even tho you think you are denouncing them
Scientists: you've done your job: now the content providers need to come to terms with themselves and learn to serve their community with their gifts instead of believing that their talent entitles them to fame glory and fortune.
I completely agree with what you were saying, but I can see why the BBC were eager to get you off the air. Your point would have been better made if you stayed calm, rather than instantly yelling at the presenter.
Ha ha ha ha !
Nail on head stuff there, Radoslav!
While this specific attack isn't particularly notable, I often wonder what a notable attack on Facebook would actually look like.
+Jeff Jarvis Are you at all starting to think that you might have gotten this one wrong?

Apple got hit too, and I'll bet mobile Android developers at Google were infected too (they're using Macs even though they have Android smartphones), if it's real.  Andriod is most closely tied to Java.

Android has a large community of developers writing applications ("apps") that extend the functionality of devices, written primarily in a customized version of the Java programming language.
Show me the harm to one consumer. 
If Amazon E3 nodes that run API/db's (mobile apps) have been rooted (by being accessed from dev laptops that have the sec policy), consumer harm might show up soon, if it's not a sham related to CISPA.

The best way to your smartphone (and the data in app servers) is the through the apps you use, and the best way to do that is through the developers that work on the mobile apps, especially the Java related ones (Android).
And it probably doesn't hurt that these are some of the same dev laptops (Apple and if Google is involved) that have access to the source code for the mobile operating systems.
+Jonathan Langdale you are right indeed, compromised laptops can lead to compromised data. Nobody is casting doubt abut that - however, BBC tried to make a headlines of what is essentially a non-issue, because there was no confirmed harm done, and FB stated that infected machines were dealt with (bludgeoned to death, I hope :-)

What BBC tried to pull indeed was a case of #technopanic , where a mildly troublesome news was inflated to proportion of international data breach that threatens millions of bank accounts and social security numbers. Jeff was harsh to the anchor, it's true, but maybe this unpopular move was necessary to set the message straight: it would be much more difficult to set the message with calm voice, and such communication would be a lot easier to divert from, set the speaker aside and continue building up on the hype.

#bbcnews , in its pursue of entertaining news, did bad journalism and got scolded fot that.  
Actually, I can't see the proof that Twitter security breach happened because of that Java zero day security issue, except for a vague explanation given to their users at

Do you have any better information on that?

And, please note that in this case the harm was done and confirmed by Twitter, unlike the case of FB where there were no known issues with user data. Again: is it troublesome? It is. Is it worth balooning? No. 

P.S. Shall we kick Oracle's butt for not doing it right?
I don't think that it necessarily follows from a defaming, no.  But the timing of everything is curious, and Twitter did lose passwords and data.  Twitter is far less secure than Facebook or Apple services.

Does this mean that the WSJ and NYT hacks are not related either?  China seems like an easy target to assign blame, although it may very well be, they're known for it.
The core of that problem lies in Java, and the way Oracle misbehaved: they knew about security holes, but didn't bother to fix them until very recently. It will take some time for everyone to patch up their Java, but the threat is just like any other zero-day exploit: difficult to defend from, but will languish as soon as enough computers are patched. 

And then again: if user data on FB weren't compromised, BBC shouldn't try to push the news like that. I think this pretty big thread started with BBC trying to make a story out of what is essentialy a non-story. It could be a story if it was about the widespread Java vulnerability, that's where the merit of the problem is. But they didn't bother to talk about zero-day attack and its consequences because most of the people wouldn't know a zinch about what they're talking about, instead they focused on Facebook just because everyone knows what FB is: a big, fat company that everyone has to use or be forgotten in the realm of Internet. 

From there they tried to build a hype using buzzwords and jumping on conclusion that it was a great big security breach at FB that threatened users data, while having not a single fact to support their story. It was a mere speculation and a hope that tomorrow the unfolding of events might lean on their side and prove them right. 

Good journalists don't do that. They do not make presumptions on weak information, hoping that the future will prove them right. If they speculate, they make it clear that the speculation is going on and why they're speculating; they do not fabricate news that doesn't exist, in vain hope that it somehow might turn out to be true.  
The Java security sandbox has always been an issue... I think.
  The problem with Java (not Javascript) is that it's not often used by web users, so why go after it?  How many people still or frequently run embedded Java binary/applets these days?

Mac OS X disables it automatically if it's not used within so many days, they do that for a reason.

Developers, who would have it running, can be tricked easily.  They assume a degree of knowledge and a respectable mobile development site is a good way to reach them.
The bad thing is that Java plugins are still required for some non-trivial tasks: banking, for instance - where banks aren't eager to change they costly system just because there's a zero-day vulnerability every now and then. 

And, I don't think OS X disables Java automatically - the update disabled old Java plugins for browsers, but not whole Java, AFAIK (which was enough to stop exploits on that platform). 
This, on the other hand, is another bad example: I do not want +Clement Lefebvre to disable anything on my Mint box without me approving it first. Disabling Java plugin will strand all OS X users trying to get to a legitimate site that relies on Java technology (like banking). This is pushing security down your throat. 

I don't think we're going to get rid of Java very soon. Even Flash is still pretty alive, although his fate has been sealed for some time now. 
+Jonathan Langdale The BBC presented the original story as a consumer story, as a matter of concern and danger to Facebook users because this would mean that all their secrets (who the hell puts secrets on Facebook?!?) would be revealed to the world. That's the idiocy of what they were trying to do. That's a scare story. 
That does not mean that there is not a story of interest to geeks here: how is this being done; who's being targeted; by whom; why? All that is legit on a tech site but it's not a larger consumer story because there's not the consumer danger that the BBC was looking for. 
"A hack on Apple computers has infected systems at hundreds of the company’s clients in the largest cyber attack the company has ever faced, a person briefed on the investigation told Reuters on Tuesday."

I'm calling it #jhole because it's using/used blackhole or whitehole kits.

+Jeff Jarvis I could be wrong, but if real, the 'largest cyber attack on Apple ever' might translate into consumer's being harmed.

But I don't want to geek-panic.  This could just be to drum up fear for CISPA.
+Jeff Jarvis What is your threshold for techno-panic, btw?  Is there a benchmark?  We should draw the line in the sand to see if this thing blows up and crosses it.

Does this mean people losing money or trades from hacked financial systems?  Massive identiy-theft?  Massive social/personal blackmail that doesn't get reported?

If we're going to manifest this 'techno-panic' thing, it should be well defined.  I would totally make a Wiki-page about it.
I see not much posts about smaller, less known companies being targeted with that Java zero-day vulnerability. And yet, they do exist. 

This could be a serious, targeted attack on very specific targets. On the other hand, being a zero-day security flaw, I am much more inclined to believe that companies everywhere were attacked, it's just that some of them do not realize it yet, or are sufficiently unimportant to not attract media. 

As I previously stated, it is difficult to defend from zero-day attacks, and now it shows. It follows the same pattern of any other zero-day attack: it's quite massive and rapid, and it will cause serious "immune system" answer in a short time and be left to linger in a pool of badly maintained computers. 

If, and only if this attack targets just a couple of big companies, we might classify it as more than a "mere" zero-day exploit. If it happens that a lot of people and businesses were compromised, then it is just another notch for malware authors. 

(good example of targeted attack is #stuxnet

In order to know the fact, journalists should go and talk to a lot of companies, not just big ones. Are they going to do that? 
It seems obvious that mobile developers were certainly targeted.  Stuxnet was a bit more targeted in that they wanted a firewire drive of a engineer that worked on a specific type of programmable computer controlled servo-machine. 

The target could be for the operating systems, or for the services that mobile developers usually use like databases (Amazon S3, Facebook), where a lot of personal data is stored, including financial, passwords, or embarrassing stuff that is good for blackmail.

I'm still not convinced this isn't just a marketing campaign that could have easily been triggered without the knowledge of the companies affected.

It could be a known problem that the government has known about, and has been keeping in it's back pocket as a result of Homeland Security cyber strategy planning, and chose not to release to the wild (to be fixed) for national security reasons (in case they needed it).

If this can be used against the companies that have been hit, it could have been used against Iran, etc.   So why waste it?

CISPA would be a justification.  A test, to see how badly sharing information worked, then to make the case why they need the information sharing.
They can now potentially make the argument that delays in information sharing now led to Apple spreading this to other companies, causing damage. 
That would be hard to defend. Of course, in political speak, anything is possible. ;-)
+Jeff Jarvis I'm sorry if you can't keep up dude.  I'll stop spamming your thread if it's bothering you.  I just think this is an interesting story the way it's developing.
While I agree with the point you were making, I fear you came across as an angry blogger to the non-tech viewers of the BBC. This could have been an opportunity to educate the masses but instead this incident became the story. 
Poetic justice!   BBC douchebags should buy a copy of "Social Networks For Dummies".
Jeff I use to like you but after this I LOVE YOU!! Bravo my friend.
I just heard about this on TWIG, I immediately came here to say, GOOD JOB!
+Patricio Bòrquez Silva
Yep i could understand the point you was making, but you came over as a raving mad American. I know you can be far more articulate than that.

I would love for you to come on the bbc again! The bbc need there ass kicking!
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