Guidance

New Guidance 3

On Air References To Social Media - Summary

Published Oct 2013

This guidance note should be considered in conjunction with the following Editorial Guidelines:

  •  Editorial Integrity

See Editorial Guidelines Section 14: Product Prominence

  •  Interacting with our Audiences

See Editorial Guidelines Section 17: UGC on Third Party Sites

See also the Guidance Note on BBC use of social networks, microblogs and other third party websites

SUMMARY OF KEY POINTS

On air calls to action for social media should:  

  • fit the specific audience demographic
  • have a clear and specific editorial justification 
  • be to an official BBC social media presence 
  • not be unduly prominent either in a single programme or cumulatively and not use a logo
  • normally point to bbc.co.uk as well
  • normally offer a range of platforms and services
  • get the tone/balance right e.g. not exclude those who simply want to watch or listen.

Before an on air call to action involving social media can appear on air, the relevant Commissioning Editor/Editor (or equivalent) or Channel Controller must be consulted and advice should be sought from the relevant Divisional Social Media Editor (or equivalent). Programmes with an established format which routinely make on air calls to action can agree overall frequency and format of these when they refer e.g. 5 Live Drive with the network Controller. Programmes will need to refer again if they want to do more.   

On air calls to action with hashtags should:

  • fit the specific audience demographic
  • have a clear and specific editorial justification
  • not be unduly promotional of a single platform  
  • where appropriate, use an @programme reference instead
  • only be used after a check on the content which is appearing under that hashtag.  

Anyone with editorial responsibility for using or publicising a hashtag should be aware that there is an inherent lack of editorial control and moderation in using a hashtag.

Before an on air call to action with hashtags can appear on air, the relevant Commissioning Editor/Editor (or equivalent) or Channel Controller must be consulted and advice should be sought from the relevant Divisional Social Media Editor (or equivalent). Programmes with an established format which routinely make on air calls to action with hashtags can agree overall frequency and format of these when they refer. Programmes will need to refer again if they want to do more. 


On air references to social media, where we use social media content like tweets or comments on air, should

  • fit the specific audience demographic
  • have a clear and specific editorial justification
  • not be unduly prominent and not use a logo
  • normally be platform neutral (i.e. not attribute each platform each time it is used)
  • normally endeavour to offer contributions from a variety of platforms.

Programmes making on air references to social media should normally do so in consultation with their Divisional Social Media Editor (or equivalent), particularly where this use is new, extensive or integral to the programme.

On air references to social media as part of the News, e.g. business stories about the companies Twitter or Facebook, should be handled just like any other News subject.

Cumulative undue prominence

Network controllers will be responsible for seeing that the cumulative effect of on air calls to action for social media, including hashtags, and on air references to social media across their individual network, is not unduly prominent.

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