CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

Docs asked not to tweet confidential info worth $8B tweet it anyway

Technically Incorrect: At the American Diabetes Conference, trust is tested. It fails.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


A room full of people will tweet. It's just what they do.

Twitter

May I tell you a secret?

My general experience is that if you ask someone to keep a secret, it's a fine way for that secret to emerge.

You might think me twisted. You'd be right.

I can't, though, understand why the American Diabetes Association would trust a whole conference hall full of people to not, well, tweet confidential information.

As Bloomberg reports, the ADA was enjoying a conference on Monday in New Orleans. The attendees, many of them doctors, were there to listen to data about a new diabetes drug called Victoza.

It's manufactured by Danish company Novo Nordisk.

Rumors suggested Victoza might be a remarkable breakthrough. But such was the timing of this conference that the presentation of the data was occurring an hour or so ahead of its official unveiling to the public and those venal entities known as the markets.

The presenters therefore asked very nicely for the attendees not to tweet about the information.

You know what happened, don't you? You live a peculiar life too.

As the presenters revealed the data to the hall, the data was being tweeted. And retweeted. And retweeted.

The American Diabetes Association tweeted at the tweeters to please stop.

Bloomberg quotes one tweeter, @LoenborgMadsen, as declaring: "Wow -- that was fast. Just got slammed for posting embargoed data from the session. Better stop :-(." That tweet has now been deleted.

Neither Novo Nordisk nor the American Diabetes Association immediately responded to requests for comment.

Sadly, the fact that Victoza allegedly reduces heart attacks and strokes by 13 percent and helps survival rates rise was thought to be a disappointment. This meant that Novo Nordisk's share price dropped on Tuesday.

I worry, though, about the psychology of the whole thing.

Multiply asking one person to keep a secret by several hundred or more. What do you get? A colander with just a frame and one big hole.

If you really want to keep a secret, don't tell anyone. If you must tell someone, let it be someone you trust.

If you want to tell a whole conference hall, please don't do it after lunch in New Orleans. (Yes, this was an afternoon session.) Take away everyone's phones and laptops. Give them no Wi-Fi.

And remind them you know where they live.