Updating The Verge’s background policy


Image: Mitchell Clark / The Verge

Today The Verge is updating our public ethics policy to be clearer in our interactions with public relations and corporate communications professionals. We’re doing this because big tech companies in particular have hired a dizzying array of communications staff who routinely push the boundaries of acceptable sourcing in an effort to deflect accountability, pass the burden of truth to the media, and generally control the narratives around the companies they work for while being annoying as hell to deal with.

The main way this happens is that big companies take advantage of a particular agreement in the media called “background.” Being “on background” means that they tell things to reporters, but those reporters agree to not specifically…

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