This morning, Bloomberg released the findings of an internal investigation into conflicts of interest between the news-gathering and terminal sectors of the company, and to its credit, there was really only one thing that stood out as scary to Wall Street.
But it was pretty scary.
On page 40 of the 102-page report there’s a section that addresses Bloomberg reporters accessing anonymous trader chat rooms. Only one specific incident is really described — when about 50 reporters gained access to an anonymous chat room for commodities traders in 2011.
The intention was that they use the chat room not to interact with traders, but to get ideas for stories and watch the market in real time. Chats weren’t used as source material, but journalists did not have to identify themselves before they entered chat rooms.
Basically, they were lurking.
Access to this was revoked in 2013 — from Bloomberg’s report:
…each editor spoke to his or her own reporters, either in team meetings or as reporters were granted access to the chat room. At one point, reporters were told by editors to enter a code when joining the room that would prevent the reporters from posting comments. The editors with whom Hogan Lovells spoke stated that monitoring the room did provide a few ideas for articles and alerted them to articles that competitors were carrying. The chats themselves do not appear to have been used as source material, and there is no indication that reporters conducted interviews while using the anonymous feature of the room. Indeed, journalist activity on the site seems to have been limited to posting articles that had appeared elsewhere on the terminal without comment…
Click here to check out Bloomberg’s video message about the report, which was conducted by Clark Hoyt, previously Editor-at-Large at Bloomberg News and a former Public Editor of The New York Times.
As Jamie Dimon would say, they’re going “full kimono.” Who wouldn’t after the media frenzy about even the potential of conflict of interest in Bloomberg’s systems earlier this year.
Now — A lot of traders on Wall Street go into anonymous chatrooms with hundreds of people. The traders are identified only by their numbers and they know some people in the room are just flies on the wall.
It’s just that they probably think those are trader flies. Do with that what you will.