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Tipsheet

WaPo's Taylor Lorenz Published 'Libs of TikTok' Twitter User's Private Info, Visited Their Relative for Expose

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

Washington Post technology reporter Taylor Lorenz has doxxed an anonymous Twitter user who reposts videos from TikTok showing educators professing to utilize gender identity and sexual orientation instruction in their classrooms. Lorenz went as far as to release personal private information like the real estate license of the individual behind the account, and even paid a visit to the social media user's relatives.

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Lorenz said she was attempting to "expos[e]" the woman who ran Libs of TikTok, according to an email she sent to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw seeking comment. Pushaw, who posted a screenshot of the email to Twitter, was contacted for the story because of her Twitter interactions with the anonymous account.

In a tweet promoting her story after it was published Tuesday morning, Lorenz described the Libs of TikTok user as someone incremental in "shaping right-wing media, impacting anti-LGBTQ+ legislation" and "influencing millions by posting viral videos aimed at inciting outrage."

But Lorenz went beyond just detailing the account's Twitter posts, she revealed the woman's identity to The Washington Post audience. The story also initially linked to the user's real estate license, which includes her license number, business address, employer and employer's license number. The real estate license link has since been removed following backlash.

Additionally, Lorenz called and knocked on the doors of relatives of the Libs of TikTok Twitter user.

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The Washington Post has defended Lorenz's reporting, claiming that no details about the personal life of the woman behind the Libs of TikTok account had been disclosed.

"Taylor Lorenz is an accomplished and diligent journalist whose reporting methods comport entirely with The Washington Post’s professional standards," Washington Post senior managing editor Cameron Barr said in a statement to Townhall. "[Woman behind Libs of TikTok], in her management of the Libs of TikTok Twitter account and in media interviews, has had significant impact on public discourse and her identity had become public knowledge on social media. We did not publish or link to any details about her personal life."

The Twitter user had previously made national television appearances on multiple Fox News programs like "Tucker Carlson Tonight" but had done so over a phone call without revealing her name and image.

Lorenz and her editor, Christina Passariello, did not respond to a request for comment from Townhall.

Throughout Lorenz's story, she used quotes from an LGBT program director for Media Matters, an organization that posts clips of conservatives in a way mirroring Libs of TikTok publishing videos of progressive teachers. The story also uses quotes from a media strategist for the American Civil Liberties Union.

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The Washington Post's doxxing of the woman behind Libs of TikTok appears to violate the Society of Professional Journalists' code of ethics. Under the section, "Minimize Harm," the SPJ states that journalists should "Balance the public's need for information against potential harm or discomfort" and that "Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance or undue intrusiveness."

After she had received criticism for her story Tuesday, Lorenz sounded off on the backlash.

Tuesday's story is just Lorenz's latest attempt to expose individuals behind popular social media accounts through her reporting for top U.S. newspapers.

Reporting for The Atlantic in 2018, Lorenz outed a popular Youtuber for describing things he did not like as "gay" several years before. Earlier that year, the journalist reported for The Daily Beast about how a group of Instagram influencer siblings had allegedly not included their mother in family photos posted on the platform. Their mother is a controversial right-wing figure who has previously been accused of being Islamophobic, according to Lorenz's reporting.

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This comes after Lorenz broke down in tears earlier this month during an interview with MSNBC about online harassment against women, claiming she had suffered "severe PTSD" because of social media posts targeting her.

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