Use of social media

Social media has significantly changed the landscape in which we operate.  It is used routinely to share information and opinions, it can be a source of stories, a way of connecting with our audiences and a means of finding contributors.  However, it raises significant issues for us and these have now been addressed throughout the Editorial Guidelines. 

Where we use social media as a way of sourcing stories and information, we need to ensure our output remains duly accurate.  We must take care that when we use social media ourselves, we do not risk undermining the BBC’s impartiality.  Individuals who make their personal views public may be restricted in the areas they are able to work in, if audiences have a reasonable perception that they may be biased.

Distressing and graphic films can be shared on social media, but audiences expect us to apply our editorial judgement in using this content.  The use of footage by the BBC may cause offence to audiences if it is shown without sufficient editorial justification.  Where we use content from social media, we should consider the privacy of those featured – particularly if they did not make or post the material. 

Content that is posted on social media is available permanently, is searchable and can be shared and commented on in a way that we have no control over.  Therefore, when we seek informed consent from those taking part in our output, we should consider what additional sensitivities may arise if we wish to use their contribution on social media.