The chairman-elect for RTDNA, Vince Duffy, wrote an interesting post that asks whether — from an ethical standpoint — comments on Facebook and Twitter are free for use as quotes in a story.
Like many ethical issues, the answer may be, “It depends.” I think we can all think of situations in which using a tweet or FB comment would be newsworthy, but there are also plenty of gray areas, as Duffy suggests.
Of course, no matter the circumstances, one of the biggest concerns is identity verification. Ever have your Facebook page hijacked by someone just playing a joke on you? Unless my friends are highly unusual, I”d say it’s fairly common — especially among parents.
Is using social media “quotes” similar to overhearing someone talking at the next table in a restaurant and using those comments in a story? Or does the fact that it’s “published” online make a difference? Let us know what you think.