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The Bloomberg Fiasco: How Serious Is the Hit?

The Bloomberg Fiasco: How Serious Is the Hit?

The talk of the news media this weekend was the fiasco at Bloomberg News. 

Reporters at Bloomberg reportedly used the company’s data-laden terminals to monitor and learn information on its users. 

As CNBC pointed out, in some cases there were accusations that Bloomberg journalists looked up information on government officials.

A Bloomberg spokesperson told CNBC, “What you are reporting is untrue” but declined to respond when asked what specifically was inaccurate. The company spokesman also didn’t say if the company had investigated journalist access to the terminals.

Both the Federal Reserve and the US Treasury Department are examining the extent Bloomberg terminal usage by top officials might have been tracked, CNBC reported.

Bloomberg CEO Dan Doctoroff said in a press release: “Last month we changed our policy so that all reporters only have access to the same customer-relationship data available to our clients.” Doctoroff added: “Reporters could not see news stories that clients read, or the securities they viewed.”

At this point, it is hard to know how serious the accusations will be for Bloomberg’s financial strength. The company sells its terminals largely to Wall Street professionals, primarily in the trading areas.

If these customers believe that Bloomberg acted unethically, it could hurt Bloomberg’s standing and its ability to sell terminals in the future.

NOTE: I worked as a reporter for Bloomberg News from 1993 to 1999, before I resigned to join another news organization

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