Wikileaks: The Gift That Keeps On Giving

In an unprecedented move, on Tuesday Wikileaks began unilaterally publishing 55,000 more U.S. diplomatic cables, and, once again, pushed the boundaries of journalism by starting a twitter campaign called “Wikileaks Find.”

In simple terms, Wikileaks Find uses Twitter as a medium to allow the general public to play the role of a New York Times journalist in regards to leaked documents. Wikileaks Find is an arguably risky move that inarguably plays a historic role in further democratizing journalism. 

Allow me to explain.

You’d have to live under a rock to not know about Wikileaks’ now infamous acquisition of over 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. However, what you may not know is that only a tiny fraction of the cables have actually been published for public viewing.

Up until this point, Wikileaks’ U.S. diplomatic cables have been funneled to significant media outlets. As these media outlets publish stories, Wikileaks publishes the corresponding cables cited by journalists. 

Now, Wikileaks has announced that it is crowd sourcing the job of combing through this new batch of documents to over 1,000,000 Twitter followers on Wednesday. Twitter users are to link to newsworthy cables in tweets tagged #wlfind. Their Tweets will appear on the #wlfind Twitter feed.

In other words, the new batch of cables has been delivered directly to the public, with no media filter. Thanks to this Wikileaks-sponsored Twitter campaign, the public also has a powerful outlet with which it is able to communicate findings from the cables. To facilitate the process, Wikileaks has even made individual paragraphs of cables linkable.

Sure it’s risky to rely on Twitter users for news. They’re not as experienced as New York Times journalists, but that doesn’t seem to be a problem yet. Thus far, the Twitter feed is being put to good use. 

Here are some newsworthy cables uncovered by twitter users using #wlfind thus far:

[The following are paraphrased tweets.]

@vildbasseApple requested U.S. government assistance to open the Chinese market up to iPhones. Emboffs complied.

@takethesquare — U.S. diplomats discussed the likelihood of a Spanish housing market bust back in 2005.

@aheram — In 2007 Libya awarded U.S. firms $2 billion in contracts to “to curry political favor.”

You can find the rest of the recently published cables here.

Photo Credit: Donkey Hotey

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Michael Youhana

Writer interested in US foreign policy whose articles have been featured in various outlets including The Nation and The Jerusalem Report magazines, and, of course, on PolicyMic

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