Reuters deputy social media editor indicted

Matthew Keys faces up 25 years in jail and $750,000 in fines

Matthew Keys, Reuters’s deputy social media editor since January 2012, was indicted today by the Justice Department.

Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly broke the news on Twitter, following that up with a link to the court documents.

Keys worked for Tribune-owned KTXL in Sacramento until October 2010, when he was “laid off (or fired, or quit, jury’s still out on this one).” According to the indictment, Keys gave members of Anonymous access to the Tribune Company’s servers in December 2010, which one of them used to deface an article on the Los Angeles Times’s website.

Keys is charged with three counts in all: conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer, transmission of malicious code, and attempted transmission of malicious code. He faces a maximum fine of $750,000 and 25 years in jail if convicted.

On his Twitter account, Keys said:

I am fine. I found out the same way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I’m going to take a break. Tomorrow, business as usual.

Reuters issued this statement to CJR:

We are aware of the charges brought by the Department of Justice against Matthew Keys, an employee of our news organization. Thomson Reuters is committed to obeying the rules and regulations in every jurisdiction in which it operates. Any legal violations, or failures to comply with the company’s own strict set of principles and standards, can result in disciplinary action. We would also observe the indictment alleges the conduct occurred in December 2010; Mr. Keys joined Reuters in 2012, and while investigations continue we will have no further comment.

Last October, Keys created an parody account for Google co-founder Larry Page. At the time, Reuters told CJR: “A member of our social media team erred in creating a parody account. We are reviewing the matter.”

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Sara Morrison is a former assistant editor at CJR. Follow her on Twitter @saramorrison. Tags: , ,