Verizon shuts down controversial tech news site SugarString

Verizon has officially shut down, the short-lived and controversial technology news site that banned reporting on net neutrality and U.S. spying.

The world’s most valuable telecommunications company is deeply involved in both issues. Leaks from Edward Snowden showed that Verizon gave the National Security Agency all of its customers phone records. Additionally, Verizon has been at the forefront of efforts to kill net neutrality.

The Daily Dot first reported on SugarString in October after the site’s editor-in-chief attempted to recruit journalists and warned them of the verboten topics. The article led to a torrent of criticism accusing Verizon of building a platform that did not come close to meeting journalistic standards.

Days later, Verizon placed blame squarely on the editor, saying he mischaracterized the site’s rules about covering sensitive topics.

“Verizon believes this was a good, sound concept, but the execution was not what it should have been, and we’ll learn from it,” a Verizon spokesperson told the New York Times in November.

However, since the Daily Dot’s report, the site has barely been updated. Now, it’s officially offline, and the social media accounts for the site have been stripped of branding and made private.

H/T DSL Reports | Photo via Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0)

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill

Patrick Howell O'Neill is a notable cybersecurity reporter whose work has focused on the dark net, national security, and law enforcement. A former senior writer at the Daily Dot, O'Neill joined CyberScoop in October 2016. I am a cybersecurity journalist at CyberScoop. I cover the security industry, national security and law enforcement.