Getty ImagesJerry SanduskyEveryone on Wall Street has been talking about how Bloomberg News reporters used private user data from Bloomberg Terminals to essentially spy on employees at JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs.
This all came to light after an unidentified Bloomberg reporter pointed out to Goldman that a partner had not used his terminal in an unusually long period of time and inquired if he left the bank, the New York Post reported.
If you’re not already familiar, a Bloomberg Terminal is a computer that’s targeted toward financial professionals so they can message other users, obtain real-time market data, news, and stock quotes among many other functions.
The terminal, which costs about $20,000 per subscription, is a powerful tool for finance professionals. It’s also a big money maker for Bloomberg LP with more than 300,000 terminals being used globally.
The power of the terminal was also emphasised among Bloomberg reporters for informing coverage of their stories.
According to a source familiar, reporters at Bloomberg were brought into a meeting back in 2011 to learn how to better use the terminal to find sources for their stories.
We’re told this particular meeting happened around the time of the arrest of Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State football coach who had been charged and later convicted with sexually assaulting several boys.
The source said they used Sandusky as an example at the meeting of how you could look up people who went to Penn State and if they played football while he was a coach. Managers emphasised that Bloomberg was the “original Facebook.”
Terminals are a great resource for looking up sources, especially in finance. Bloomberg users have profiles set up pretty much like a social network. Some people add their photo, their interests, where they went to school and previous organisations where they worked.
What’s more is those reporters with access to terminals could then send messages and/or chat with potential sources on the terminal’s instant messaging system.
We’re told it was common practice among Bloomberg reporters to use terminals for reporting purposes, including the private client information.
Bloomberg has now restricted reporter access to private client information on the terminals after Goldman complained.