Social Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websites: BBC Use


In this article

  1. Editorial Guidelines Issues
  2. Summary of Main Points

Last updated: October 2010


Editorial Guidelines Issues


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

  • Accuracy

See Editorial Guidelines Section 3 Accuracy: Managing Online Content


  • Harm and Offence

See Editorial Guidelines Section 5 Harm and Offence: Online


  • Impartiality and Diversity of Opinion

See Editorial Guidelines Section 4 Impartiality and Diversity of Opinion


  • Children and Young People as Contributors

See Editorial Guidelines Section 9 Children and Young People as Contributors: Online Protection


  • Editorial Integrity and Independence

See Editorial Guidelines Section 14 Editorial Integrity and Independence: Online Links to Third Party Websites


Summary of Main Points


  • It should be clear to users whether a site is a "BBC" page or a "personal" page.

  • The overall parameters, purpose and benchmarks of any project should be discussed with the relevant Interactive Editor or senior editorial figure, as well as the relevant Head of Marketing.

  • You may put BBC branding on a third party site, but the associated content should bring credit to the brand.

  • When the BBC joins a third party site, we should "go with the grain" and not alienate existing users by giving the impression of seeking to impose ourselves on them and their space.

  • Before a site/profile/page is launched, you should decide what level of engagement you want, what resources you need to achieve it and over what time-frame.

  • We should not seek to duplicate measures of protection and intervention already established by a particular social networking site. There will, however, be times when the BBC may implement "light touch" intervention.

  • You should check online "friends" before approving them and review their comments regularly once approved.

  • We should not give users the impression that a particular site will have a longer life than is planned. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate to "hand over" a BBC page to an online community.

  • Any proposal to use a chat room, message board, microblog or social networking site to find contributors must be referred to the relevant Divisional representative or, for indies, to the Commissioning Editor.

  • When forwarding or "retweeting" messages, care should be taken that it does not appear that the BBC is endorsing a particular opinion.

  • When on social media, you should always link back to BBC Online, to encourage users to consume more BBC content.

  • Sites aimed at teens should be suitable for that audience. If in doubt, the Home Office Task Force Good Practice Guidance on Social Networking may be consulted.

  • We should be sensitive to the minimum age requirements on different social networking sites. This is often set at 13.

  • Advertisements on BBC-branded social networking pages should be monitored to check that they are appropriate.

  • Before uploading BBC material onto a social networking site, you should make sure that you are aware of, and comfortable with, the site's own terms and conditions.

  • The closure or mothballing of a site should be carefully managed to ensure that it does not remain BBC-branded but neglected.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.