BBC Issues Staff With New Social Media Guidance

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BBC Issues Staff With New Social Media Guidance

The BBC has issued new guidance on social media usage, which will force staff to maintain impartiality.

Employees will be told not to “express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or controversial subjects”.

The announcement follows new director general Tim Davie’s pledge last month to impose new social media rules.

The BBC will also tell staff to disclose their earnings outside of the corporation on a public database.

What are the new social media rules?

The BBC said it had considered impartiality in the context of public expressions of opinion, taking part in campaigns and participating in marches or protests.

The new guidance on social media will apply to staff whether they are using online platforms professionally or personally.

Staff will be told they must not bring the BBC into disrepute or criticise colleagues in public.

It adds: “If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’.”

Guidance will also be issued on avoiding bias through follows, likes, retweeting or other forms of sharing.

The BBC said there would be “tougher guidelines for some staff in news, current affairs, factual journalism, senior leadership, and a small number of presenters who have a significant public profile”.

Some presenters have faced criticism for sharing personal views on Twitter in recent years.

 

They include Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who often uses his Twitter feed to comment on non-football matters.

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BBC cricket correspondent Jonathan Agnew took issue with this in 2018, asking Lineker to “observe BBC editorial guidelines” and keep his views on politics to himself.

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Bobby Friction, a presenter on the BBC Asian Network, recently deleted a tweet which criticised the government after BBC management intervened.

The guidance states staff should avoid using disclaimers such as “My views, not the BBC’s” in their biographies and profiles, as they provide no defence against personal expressions of opinion.

BBC Issues Staff With New Social Media Guidance

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