Matthew Keys, the journalist who was accused of conspiring with Anonymous, has been fired by Reuters today. On his Twitter account, Keys tweeted, “Just got off the phone. Reuters has fired me, effective today. Our union will be filing a grievance. More soon.” David Girardin, a Reuters spokesperson, confirmed the firing. According to Keys, his termination from Reuters had no relation to his alleged involvement with Anonymous, but was due to him violating his “Final Written Warning”.
The final written warning was issued back on October 25th, 2012. It was issued to Keys because he created a parody Twitter account named @PendingLarry. It was used to mock Larry Page, CEO of Google. The warning goes on to say that creating the fake account that did not identify Keys as the author violated Reuter’s Social Media Policy. It also stated that his actions “displayed a serious lapse of judgment and professionalism that is unbecoming of a Reuters journalist.” The following sentences may be the reason as to why Keys was terminated,
“For these reasons, we are issuing this final written warning. We must see immediate improvement in your communications with managers and more discretion in your social media practices.”
Keys, who was Reuter’s Deputy Social Media Editor, recently came under fire a few days ago after he was criticized for tweeting misinformation from police scanners. His first tweet stated, “Dispatch: First Boston bomb suspect is Mike Mulugeta,” and his second tweet stated, “Dispatcher: Suspect 2 is missing Brown University student Sunil Tripathi.” Keys defended his position in a Facebook post, stating he was unaware that the police asked people not to publish information from police scanners, and that other social journalists were doing the same thing as he was.
Keys told Politico that his termination from Reuters “wasn’t unexpected”, and that his independent coverage of the Boston bombings was one of the reasons why he was fired. Keys also told Politico that Reuters had a “specific set of reasons for the termination” which he and the union agree “is incorrect and doesn’t hold any water.” He states that Reuters may have just been “looking for an out” and jumped at the opportunity to fire him.