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July 15 2011


BBC publishes its social media guidelines for journalists

The Next Web | TNW :: TNW has written before about the double-edged sword of social media. On the one hand it can boost profiles and raise revenue, on the other it can get a lot of people in hot-water if someone steps even a little bit out of line. From a journalistic perspective, social media is also emerging as an important tool for hacks to engage and network with the wider community. And the BBC has today published (PDF direct download link) its social media guidelines for its staff working in news.

Continue to read Paul Sawers, thenextweb.com

Downloadlink BBC social media guideline

July 02 2011


Facebook vs Google+ (Plus): rules, regulations, guidelines, what's different?

Jillian C. York :: Google+ gets it right, marketing itself as a service for which identity is important. It does not require users to use their full legal name on the site (as Facebook does), nor would it remove the profile of an individual using a known pen name (such as Facebook did with Michael Anti). Rather, users are encouraged to “use the name that you commonly go by in daily life.” Jillian C. York has been analyzing Google+’s rules, regulations, and guidelines to see how they stack up to Facebook’s.

Jillian C. York is the Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She writes regularly about free expression, politics, and the Internet, with particular focus on the Arab world. She is on the Board of Directors of Global Voices Online, and writes for Al Jazeera English, and the Guardian’s Comment is Free.

Via Khadijah Britton (and Google+ circles)

Her analysis - continue to read jilliancyork.com

Sponsored post

May 28 2011


FTC: how should original guidelines on online advertising disclosures be updated?

Wall Street Journal :: The Federal Trade Commission has begun soliciting public comment on how it should revise more than decade-old guidelines that translate federal advertising laws to the Internet, as the agency moves to more aggressively police digital ads.

The agency said on a notice on its website Thursday that groups have until July 11 to send suggestions on how its original guidelines on online advertising disclosures should be updated to address new technologies, such as those used to target ads to users’ interests and mobile advertising.

Continue to read Emily Steel, blogs.wsj.com

March 02 2011


Guest post: Do we need moderation guidelines for dealing with mental health issues?

Last month the Press Complaints Commission made a judgement in a case involving discriminatory comments on a newspaper article. The case highlighted the issue of journalism on mental health and how it is treated by publishers alongside similar considerations such as sexuality, gender, religion and ethnicity. The complaint also led to a change in The Guardian’s moderation rules.

In a guest post for the Online Journalism Blog the person who brought that case, Beatrice Bray, writes about her experiences of comment abuse, and the role she feels publishers should take in dealing both with comments relating to mental health, as well as writers with mental health issues.

Last April I wrote a rallying cry for the Guardian for all who have endured taunts about mental ill health. In my reply article Cartoonists should be careful how they portray mental health (23/4/10) I reclaimed the word “psychotic”. Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson had used the word to abuse Mrs Thatcher. I put him right.

I am a long-standing reader of the Guardian newspaper but I did not know the website audience. Being a proud campaigner I told Guardian readers that I had bipolar disorder and had experienced psychosis.

I expected a civil hearing. Newspaper readers did oblige but many online readers were foul.

The Guardian’s managing editor Chris Elliott did not warn me about the impending abuse. That was a mistake. I think Mr Elliott knew I would face hostility but I do not think he realised how badly I would be hurt.

Those insults made me physically sick. My head was sore for many weeks. This was all so pointless. If Mr Elliott had given me a chance to discuss the risks involved we both could have taken precautions. Instead there was a row.

Guardian staff gave me an apology but told me to grow a “thick skin”. That jibe spurned me into going to the Press Complaints Commission. It is free. It is also less adversarial and less costly than a disability tribunal.

I was not asking for anything unprecedented. The BBC has guidelines on working with vulnerable people. We need to extend this to new media.

Working with vulnerable people

For example when dealing with discussion sites moderators need to deal swiftly with abuse. They also must facilitate discussions so that they do not turn nasty.

Staff should appreciate the reasons for this action. This is not prima donna treatment. This action is necessary because the writer and many of the readers share a common disability. They all have mental health problems.

Section 2 of the PCC Editors’ code promised fairness to complainants. I thought it only fair to ask for warning of abuse but in my PCC ruling the Guardian and the PCC disagreed with me. The PCC did not say why.

However, I did score other points.

Before the PCC ruling the Guardian at my request did add the word “disability” to its moderation rules.

The PCC and the Guardian and did apologise with regard to the abuse.

Guardian online readers called me, amongst other things, a “nutter” and a “retard”. Unfortunately both the Guardian and PCC refused to accept that this was discrimination as defined by the terms of section 12 of the Editor’s code of the PCC.

This is not just semantics. To me the word “discrimination” is a word with power. It holds the abuser responsible but the PCC fights shy of doing that online.

I now know that you can only complain to the PCC if a staff member makes a discriminatory remark about you. Comments made by non-staff members do not fall within the PCC’s remit. My abusers were not Guardian staff.

It is a shame. By being discrimination deniers both the Guardian and the PCC cut themselves off from a store of knowledge on handling disability and mental health in particular.

November 18 2010


CBC updates social media guidelines

The revised CBC guidelines on social media are to be welcomed. They are based on the principles CBC applies to other forms of media, rather than a detailed list of do’s and don’ts.

The guidelines acknowledge the importance of social media tools “for gathering information, as well as disseminating it.”

But add that “when using social media as an information-gathering tool, we apply the same standards as those for any other source of newsgathering.”

The guidelines advise against using social media to talk about unconfirmed reports:

We are consistent in our standards, no matter what the platform, in disseminating information. If we would not put the information on air or on our own website, we would not use social media to report that information.

In the section on sourcing, the CBC stresses that “our standards apply to all types of sources, including those coming via social media, when they are used for news gathering purposes.”

This suggests the CBC would do what the BBC did during the Mumbai bombing, publishing unverified tweets alongside material from its reporters.

The section on the personal use of social media also draws from general CBC principles. It implicit acknowledges how social media tends to blur the line between the personal and professional, advising staff to “maintain professional decorum and do nothing that can bring the Corporation into disrepute.”

Rather than forbidding staff from expressing their opinion on personal social media accounts, the guidelines advise that “the expression of personal opinions on controversial subjects or politics can undermine the credibility of CBC journalism and erode the trust of our audience.”

Some may see this as extending professional codes of conduct into personal social media spaces. One of the aspects of social media is how it combines both the personal and professional in usually publicly accessible platforms.

(Full disclosure: I am married to the director of digital media for CBC News, Rachel Nixon)

September 15 2010


Bookmarks for March 21st through September 15th

Some interesting stuff from March 21st through September 15th:

August 12 2010


US group releases draft guidelines for online content syndication

A group of online content syndicators including the Associated Press, Reuters, Tribune Company and CBS has released a proposed set of guidelines for content syndication, according to a report from MediaWeek.

The Internet Content Syndication Council began considering the guidelines at the beginning of July.

The guidelines are aimed at countering the effect that the group sees as a growing and dangerous trend on the web – the rise of shoddy, poorly-sourced and edited content, often produced solely with gaming search engines in mind.

The proposed guidelines will now be open to review by its membership and the wider online media industry.

Full post at this link…Similar Posts:

May 18 2010


Revised BBC social media guidelines offer practical advice

The BBC has revised its guidelines (PDF) on the use of Twitter and other micro-blogging sites by staff.

The updated guidance take account of the spread of services like Twitter which were not widespread when the advice was first published in 2008.

As well as offering specific advice on friending and retweeting, the guidelines set out the BBC’s social media principles:

  • With conversations, participate online; don’t “broadcast” messages to users
  • Don’t bring the BBC into disrepute
  • With moderation, only police where we have to; trust our users where we don’t
  • Be open and transparent in our social media dealings

These offer a broad and practical approach to social media.  They acknowledge that social media is about community and conversation, rather than about controlling content.

It is good to see an organisation like the BBC, with its roots in a patriarchal, broadcast era, talking about trusting users and entering into a dialogue with them.

Some of the specific advice to staff reflects the BBC’s concerns about editorial impartiality. For example, when it comes to retweeting, the guidelines say:

In some cases, you will need to consider the risk that “retweeting” of third party content by the BBC may appear to be an endorsement of the original author’s point of view.

Instead, the BBC advises staff to add “your own comment to the “tweet” you have selected, making it clear why you are forwarding it and where you are speaking in your own voice and where you are quoting someone else’s.”

This strikes at the heart of one of the tensions in social media for professional media organisations: Social media blurs the line between the professional and the personal.

The guidelines seek to make some distinctions here, especially when it comes to on-air talent, where personality plays a big role:

Presenters of live chat shows, music and entertainment shows may sometimes refer on air, where editorially justifiable, to their personal microblogging accounts. This is where the account is used as a personal tool by the presenter; it should not be used as a normal or official means of contacting the programme but it can be used to gather instant feedback by the presenter.

The BBC, as other media organisations, is adapting to a social media ecosystem, so it is likely that the guidelines will evolve over time. But the general principles set out are a good place to start.

March 22 2010


Net2 Think Tank Round-up: Writing an effective social media policy

As social media becomes increasingly embraced by mainstream employers, how can you write a social media policy for your organization that both celebrates the positive side and addresses the negative side of social media?  The March Net2 Think Tank asked for examples of effective social media policies and this round-up has some great examples to get you started creating a social media policy in your organization!

read more

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