Condé Nast's War on Gossip Whisperers

The publisher is looking for the person behind the very funny @CondeElevator account

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For the past five days, tweets from @CondeElevator have thrilled insiders and voyeurs of the New York media industry. ("Girl: Omigod I love your dress so much I wish there was a 'like' button I could press," reads a recent tweet.) In fact, it's probably safe to say that everybody's who's seen The Devil Wears Prada or been to high school would love it too. ("Vogue Asst & Anna Wintour in packed elevator. VA: Blah blah Duke & Duchess of Windsor-- AW: Cambridge. Duke & Duchess of CAMBRIDGE. VA: I'm sorry," reads another.)

But Condé Nast executives do not love it. According to ABC News they're "hunting down" the person behind the account:

"We have no idea if this is real or made up and don't know who is behind it but it certainly suggests that many people care a great deal about what happens at Conde Nast," a Conde Nast spokeswoman said in an statement to today. 

Asked whether an effort is under way to uncover who is behind the Twitter account and if the company will allow the account to remain active, the spokeswoman said, "We are still looking into it, so I don't know what will or won't happen."

Condé's statement sounds forgiving enough, but if precendent is any indication of what will happen when they do find the person, the quote looks like a wolf in a lamb's clothing. Kat Stoeffel at The New York Observer hints at why the company might be worried about somebody spilling tweet-sized secrets about what goes on inside the prestigious magazine publishing house. "With staffers and visitors of all stations sharing rides to and from the Frank Gehry cafeteria, the elevators have long been a conduit for company gossip to the outside," Stoeffel writes.

But Condé Nast does not like anything to get leaked. In 2005, former Gawker mascot and future Young Manhattanite blog founder Andrew Krucoff was fired for leaking a pretty mundane memo about a network outage at Condé Nast's headquarters at 4 Times Square. Krucoff had forwarded the note to Gawker who posted it along with a joke--"Whatever will Nasties do with themselves all day?" Jesse Oxfeld, the author of the original post, wrote about the firing, "We're shocked. We're disappointed. We're a little mad at our ourselves (and not for all the usual reasons)."

The company has since taken measures to keep an eye on employees. Or to be more specific, they're helping employees keep an eye on other employees. Last year, the company sent out a staff-wide memo announcing a new hotline that employees should call if they suspected their coworkers were leaking information about the goings on at Condé. According to the New York Post, the Fraud Reporting Hotline set out to limit among other things the "release of proprietary information." This could presumably include gossip leaked to the press.

We'll politely ask Condé employees not to go tattle on @CondeElevator. And to the brave, anonymous, witty tweeter behind the account, here's some friendly advice on how not to get caught.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.