Financial Times reporter Mark Di Stefano allegedly spied on Zoom meetings at rival newspapers the Independent and the Evening Standard to get scoops on staff cuts and furloughs due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the UK’s Independent. And Di Stefano he did a comedically bad job of covering his tracks.
Di Stefano reportedly logged in to a Zoom meeting being held by the Independent last week using his Financial Times email address, causing his name to appear for everyone else on the call, though his own video camera was disabled. Di Stefano logged out after “16 seconds,” according to the Independent, but a few minutes later, another login was recorded that was connected to Di Stefano’s phone number. That user stayed on the call until the end of the meeting, according to journalists in the Zoom meeting.
How do we know it was probably Di Stefano? It’s not like he made his knowledge of the call’s contents secret. After the call, he tweeted about the changes at the two news outlets on April 23, including the fact that ad revenue is down between 30 and 50 percent. The FT reporter also tweeted that the Independent’s website had just experienced its biggest traffic month ever.
Di Stefano’s tweets were apparently going out before some people at the two news outlets even knew what was going on at their own workplaces, according to the Independent.
Di Stefano caught plenty of flak from Twitter users over the past two days, making fun of his less-than-perfect deception on Zoom, with plenty of Simpsons references—like the time that Mr. Burns put on a bad mustache to appear as “Mr. Snrub.”