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January 26, 2012 at 9:58 AM

State AG asks reporters to sign Facebook nondisclosure form

Does it seem odd to ask a reporter to sign a non-disclosure agreement?

Well, that’s what Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna’s office was asking of  reporters going into a news conference later this morning at Facebook offices in downtown Seattle.

AG’s spokesman Dan Sytman quickly withdrew the request — which he said was made at the behest of Facebook — but not before at least two news organizations, The Seattle Times and The Associated Press, said they wouldn’t sign.

The agreement, which requires a promise not to disclose any “non-public” Facebook information to anyone, under threat of litigation, was forwarded to reporters as an attachment to an email sent by Sytman on his state email account.

He said it seemed to deal with issues of intellectual property and wouldn’t be of interest to journalists.

Sytman later said that a reporter from The Times would not have to sign.

“We won’t boot you,” he wrote. Later, Sytman wrote to say the reporter was “exempt” from signing.

“It’s a point well taken,” Sytmans  said in a telephone interview. “Maybe we should have thought through it a little more.  But when we heard complaints, we took immediate action.”

The news conference involves a purported “one-two” legal punch against a company that has been targeting Facebook customers with virus-infected “Like” messages.

Comments | More in General news | Topics: attorney general, Facebook, news conference

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