Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed News criticized the U.S. Supreme Court for lacking technological tools during the coronavirus outbreak, but failed to mention potential cybersecurity concerns with teleconferences.

The website headlined their teleconference criticism, “The Supreme Court Is Delaying Arguments Again — Why Don’t They Just Do A Videoconference Like The Rest Of Us?” The article quoted several activists, one of whom said that the Supreme Court’s silence on teleconference options “is getting ridiculous.”

The article neglected to mention how teleconferences suffered drawbacks in recent weeks, with the likes of Zoom teleconference calls being hacked or derailed by trolling hackers or users. Zoom has since faced questions from the public and public officials about “Zoom bombing,” where hackers infiltrated Zoom teleconferences and typed or shouted racial slurs and epithets to participants.

One example was doctorate student Dennis Johnson, whose doctoral dissertation defense was derailed by hackers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation warned the public about using Zoom and that it received multiple reports of teleconferences disrupted by hackers. There are other examples of similar disruptions to teleconferences across the country, but none of these incidents made it into the article.

The U.S. Supreme Court handles politically-sensitive cases and materials and it would be dangerous and risky for the court to use a platform that has cybersecurity issues. Instead, BuzzFeed News chose to ignore the cybersecurity concerns about teleconferences to push the Supreme Court to teleconference their proceedings.

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