Just one word on a Facebook Wall led to Wired figuring out Brian Hogan was the person who took the prototype iPhone out of a Silicon Valley bar.For all the aspiring private investigators and journalists Wired‘s Brian X. Chen has laid out how he and his crew figured it out.
It started by discovering a single odd comment left on Facebook:
The day Gizmodo published its 4G iPhone bombshell, our former intern Rose Roark saw a suspicious-looking note posted by Hogan on someone’s Facebook wall. She pointed it out to me, and I agreed it was telling. But even so, the comment was vague (a single word) and not enough to draw a conclusion; we didn’t have access to Hogan’s Facebook profile to learn more about him. We created a screenshot of the Facebook wall in case we needed it for future reference.
When Brian saw that he didn’t initially do much because, “1.) We are not police officers and 2.) We don’t work for Apple.” As the story unfolded, Wired went after it.
Hogan eventually took down his Facebook page, which struck Wired as odd, so it did some investigating. Wired figured out where Hogan lived, and started messaging everyone Hogan knew on Facebook. Eventually Hogan’s lawyer reached out saying Wired was “shaking too many branches.” The lawyer put out a statement and that was that.
So, the lesson here for would-be leakers of top secret information: Stay off Facebook.
See Also: How Apple Conceals Prototype iPhones