Major News Means More Errors (Updated)

Just read a Reuter’s article on C|Net (Link) about the Second Life security breach I mentioned earlier (reLink) and am once again amazed at the poor journalististic effort to get the facts straight. Here are some mistakes:

“Second Life,” the fast-growing online site where hundreds of thousands of people play out fantasy lives online…

Not entirely true. This implies that Second Life is only about “fantasy lives”, yet many people – myself included – do not hide our real life identities and instead use Second Life as a testbed for ideas.

…letter to its 650,000 users this weekend that its customer database, including names, addresses, passwords and some credit card data, had been compromised.

I received that letter; it didn’t say “some credit card data”. It said encrypted credit card data. That’s not the same thing. And because they’re unable to determine exactly what was downloaded, this could mean all credit card data – albeit in encrypted form. We don’t know.

…the popularity of the site has spurred Fortune 500 corporations such as Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo, along with architects, authors and musicians to erect virtual outposts of their organizations or personas.

This is the first time I’ve heard that Coca-Cola has an inworld presence. Maybe someone could tell me where that is. Please?

And as far as Wells Fargo, how many times are news organizations going to get that wrong? Wells Fargo came. They set up an island. It was beta-tested I believe. There were security issues raised when content started leaking to/from the Main Grid. The whole project was yanked and moved to Active Worlds. Why can’t they get this right??? It’s not like the information isn’t available (including here – reLink 1, reLink 2).

Retailer American Apparel has created a business to sell clothing for the “Second Life” avatars…

American Apparel has started selling clothing? Last I heard that was still in development. If Reuters is correct, I doubt it’s because they researched it; they most likely got lucky. Maybe someone can update me on this part because I would like to know.

Musicians such as Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega have held concerts inside “Second Life.”

Duran Duran has held a concert in SL? I know they’ve announced that they’re planning concerts, but I’ve not heard that they’ve done their first concert. Is this something else I missed, or is the Reuters writer jumping the gun?

The database breach potentially exposed customer data including the unencrypted names and addresses, and the encrypted passwords and encrypted payment information of all “Second Life” users, Linden Lab said in the message to users. Unencrypted credit card information, which is stored on a separate database, was not compromised, it said.

Reuters should be following the SL blogging community’s posts on this. They didn’t get the whole story.

The breach was discovered on Wednesday.

I’m not sure that’s true based on some of what I’ve read on the Second Life forums and what Linden Lab has since disclosed. The breach might have been discovered and reported days earlier. The jury is still out on this.

What a worthless piece of journalism. It almost seems that the more significant the news, the worse the reporting.

{Update: I don’t know which is worse, the crappy Reuter’s story or what looks like a rip off of it on Beta News (Link). I guess “credit” for this hackjob should go to Nate Mook.}

{Update: And another one gets it wrong; this time over on the Technology News Network (Link). These just keep popping up on my new Google page and it’s unbelievable how absolutely pathetic the journalists are out there. This appears to be yet another rip off of the Reuter’s piece; just massaged a bit more. Writer Jennifer LeClaire should be ashamed of herself. She even embellishes on the Coca-Cola screw up:

Corporations like Coca-Cola and Wells Fargo, among other Fortune 500 companies, have jumped on board the multiplayer game to offer virtual representations of their businesses.

The Wells Fargo thing I’ve gone into before. But I’m still waiting for someone to point me to a Coca-Cola store in SL. The only thing I’ve heard about Coca-Cola is that they indirectly sponsored some event. From an old New World Notes story (Link):

What is news is that this particular event is being indirectly sponsored by the Coca-Cola Company, and the corporation’s logo that’s emblazoned across the awnings is there with the firm’s full consent.

“We have permission to build it here and use the logo,” event coordinator Zenigma Suntzu says, and passes me the name of the Coke marketing director his group communicated with. Zenigma’s a longtime volunteer with City Stages, a non-profit performance space in Alabama, and Coke has been a sponsor of the Birmingham venue for some 15 years, he tells me. So when Suntzu got City Stages’ marketing director to sponsor a concert in Second Life, it was a fairly easy process for him to get the green light from one of their parent sponsors to come along for the upload, too.

Getting approval-by-association to go plastering a few logos on a virtual stage is a long way from “virtual representations of their businesses”. How pathetic has the journalistic profession become?}

6 thoughts on “Major News Means More Errors (Updated)

  1. I know of the store, but I didn’t know they were selling American Apparel clothing yet (and by that I mean avatar clothing based on AA’s real offerings, which is what I recall the company saying it had plans to do).

    I should pop in and take a look.

  2. It almost seems that the more significant the news, the worse the reporting.

    Yeah. I wonder what would happen if the news media focused on a country that some other country claimed had amassed huge quantities of biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

    Nah…that’s too important to screw up.

  3. Yeah.

    And btw, I’ve learned that AA has started selling virtual versions of real product. It was expected and announced, but I missed the update that the clothes were ready (when I visited the store in SL some time ago, they weren’t available). I’ll cut Reuters some slack on that count.

    Now, has Duran Duran had their first concert?

  4. Great post, csven, I’m sorry I was out of town (and AFK) while this blew over. The Coke reference might have been to their indirect sponsorship, or to the brief bootlegged Coke merchandise found at the bootlegged U2 concerts.

  5. Yeah. I figure they’re referring to the NWN piece I linked to in the update – which is a long way from Coca-Cola erecting a virtual outpost.

    These pathetic reports are all over the place; mostly plagiarized from one source from what I see.

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