The online world aiding or abetting crime?

After only being published for one hour, Fairfax newspaper, ‘The Age’ was forced to quickly delete an article published on their Facebook page, said to be at the hands of a hacker.

Amidst the current dispute investigating the Royal Commission into Child Abuse claims against Cardinal George Pell, The Age published the article; ‘Royal Commission told Cardinal Pell tried to buy victims silence about abuse.’

Screenshot of the article sent into 3AW
Screenshot of the article sent into 3AW

With over 110,000 people following the Age’s Facebook page, the article was uploaded to their Facebook page unknowingly attached to the threatening message ‘Die Pell.

After being taken down from their Facebook page at 9am, Editor-in-Chief Andrew Holden spoke to 3AW’s Neil Mitchell ensuring that the offensive message was not written by the journalists of The Age.

“At this stage I assume it’s a hacker, but I don’t know absolutely.” Holden said.

Over 70,000 online security threats from hackers were recorded in 2012 by Forbes Magazine, with many aimed to expose a socio-political standing. This places online newspaper publications in danger of internet-savy hacking resulting in the reputation of the publication to dwindle–thus forcing the quality of journalistic pieces to be questioned.

However, in spite of the current threats, representative from the School of Communication and Language Studies, Liew Chee Kit discusses the current evolution of print newspapers to an online platform as a means of connecting the world.

‘Online news serves as an interactive toolbox, and it gives value to the Internet.’ Kit said. 

In recent studies from Pew Research Centre, 38% of Facebook users believe that the social media site is a good source to get important news where some users state that if it wasn’t for Facebook, they would “never know what’s going on in the world.”

The bitter-sweet nature of the now online world of journalism allows for the opinion of the public to be heard, not always the voice of the desirable journalist.  Seen in a lapse of security through the ingenuity of a hacker or through the comments posted on the article itself, a voice demands to be heard.

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