FIFA, Paedophiles and Social Media
If you think that headline is linkbait, then you’re half right. It’s about how traditional media and social media simply can’t help themselves when it comes to weighing up the balance between getting an audience and pausing to consider the consequences.
Firstly FIFA and England’s bid to host to the World Cup. In a long interview on Radio 4’s Media Show yesterday, former sports minister Richard Caborn challenged the former editor of Insight Andrew Hogg over Panorama’s decision to run a story before the bid result about alleged corruption of FIFA officials now, when there is a clear risk of damaging the England bid.
Hogg’s defence was that football is of huge public interest and that therefore it is right to investigate these allegations. Caborn asked the simple question, yes, but why now, when the timing makes it provocative and there is no downside to waiting for a few months? He added that the Sunday Times piece which broke the story was similarly cynical in its timing.
I no particular fan of Caborn who has often come across as a bit of a hapless character, but I agree with him absolutely. How many match-going or armchair fans give a damn about whether you can buy the votes of a couple of FIFA delegates (if it is true)? How many, even in the other home nations, would want England to host the World Cup?
This morning, social media is ablaze with TechCrunch’s story that Amazon has been selling a guidebook for paedophiles called a “Pedophile’s (sic) Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover’s Code of Conduct”.
The book has now been withdrawn but prominent media blog Gawker reports that today’s publicity about this controversial work has resulted in sales rising by 101,000%.
The question here, posed by blogs such as The WallblogUK is whether the responsible course of action by TechCrunch would have been to contact Amazon and give them the chance to remove the book at least temporarily and then publish their story which they must have known would go global very quickly, providing the author with publicity he could only dream of.
The answer is of course eyeballs and clicks and revenue, seemingly without a thought to the longer term or non-financial cost.
What do you think?