Social Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websites: BBC Use
In this article
Last updated: October 2010
Editorial Guidelines Issues
This guidance note should be considered in conjunction with the following Editorial Guidelines:
See Editorial Guidelines Section 3 Accuracy: Managing Online Content
- Harm and Offence
- Impartiality and Diversity of Opinion
- Children and Young People as Contributors
- Editorial Integrity and Independence
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.