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BBC Guidance On Social Networking

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David Jordan David Jordan | 09:50 UK time, Thursday, 20 March 2008

Last week, the Guardian ran an article claiming that the BBC was going to restrict staff online networking.

What has actually happened is that we've published two new guidance notes about the use of social networking sites. We discussed these guidance notes at yesterday's internal BBC Editorial Policy meeting.

The first deals with how BBC programmes can have a presence on social networking sites and explores the issues that need consideration.

The second guidance note explores issues around impartiality when those employed by the BBC use social networking sites in a personal capacity.

This draws on existing BBC policy on conflicts of interest which aims to ensure that our journalistic integrity is not compromised by the off-air activities of our presenters and editorial staff. For example, staff need to be aware that "British Broadcasting Corporation" may appear after their names when they join political groups on Facebook.

Last year, there were some stories on blogs and in the press about Wikipedia entries being edited from BBC IP addresses (Pete Clifton wrote a post about this on the BBC News Editors Blog), and we've included new guidance about this.

What I hope we've created is something which is common sense. It does not restrict BBC staff from conducting legitimate activities on the Internet. But it does raise awareness of how crucial the BBC’s reputation for impartiality and objectivity is.

David Jordan is Director, BBC Editorial Policy & Standards.

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