The president of a popular American financial magazine was left red-faced on Friday after he accidentally hit “reply all” on a confidential email and spilled the beans about staff lay-offs to the entire Wall Street Journal newsroom.
The farcical situation came about after WSJ editor Gerard Baker emailed employees to tell them about a new round of planned buyouts.
Seeing this, Barron’s president and editor, Ed Finn, intended to forward that email to a handful of other company high-ups, including Dow Jones Media Group publisher Almar Latour, to discuss the impact of the buyouts on the as-yet-unannounced redundancy plans for his staff.
His email had the following, according to Politico:
"The email Gerry Baker just sent about wsj buyouts says that dj is offering 1.5x the standard buyout package. Are we planning to go to the employees we are laying off at Barron's next week and offer them 1x the standard package. That could create some problems. Please advise."
Unfortunately for Finn, he hit “reply all” instead and apparently sent the email to the WSJ newsroom.
"That was not intentional. it was a mistake. we had not been told what package was being offered to the several barron's folks who would be laid off next week," Finn explained to Politico.
Tony Pepper, CEO of secure messaging firm Egress Software Technologies argued the case shows reply all and auto-fill might be time-saving functions, but only if used with caution.
“Businesses have to accept that mistakes like these happen: humans are fallible, it’s a fact of life,” he added.
“By accepting this, and adopting technologies that can provide a safety net for users – for example, by offering the ability to encrypt, so that unintended users cannot access sensitive data; or having the ability to revoke access if data is sent in error; or refusing to send sensitive content to certain addresses and domains – then we can help to prevent these type of upsetting errors in the future.”