The Newsroom

New BBC social media guidelines

Bans on 'virtue signalling', criticism of colleagues & breaking stories on own accounts

MD
mdtauk London London
AlexS posted:
If signing off a racist and homophobic company policy isn't a resignation issue then I'm not sure what is.

I don't see how it's racist to tell people not to go to political demonstrations or to campaign for any cause on air or on social media. The particular issue that makes it homophobic is inaccurately classifying pride as a protest event and therefore including it in the ban.


Pride has always been a protest.

They never seem to get it just right do they. Earlier in the year they went completely left wing and wanted to ban ‘rule Britannia’ and now they’ve gone the complete opposite way.

Wasn't that about having people indoors singing and potentially spreading Coronavirus? But others saw it as being about not "flaunting" the colonial past Britain has in the world?
AndrewPSSP and denton gave kudos
BR
Brekkie Wales Wales Today
AlexS posted:
If signing off a racist and homophobic company policy isn't a resignation issue then I'm not sure what is.

I don't see how it's racist to tell people not to go to political demonstrations or to campaign for any cause on air or on social media. The particular issue that makes it homophobic is inaccurately classifying pride as a protest event and therefore including it in the ban.

No other public organisations (i.e. the civil service, the army, the NHS) ban their staff from attending such things, probably because it is unlawful.
Turns out nobody had 2020 vision.
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Worth noting that the BBC's Head of Newsgathering is claiming that it's not true, although hasn't offered any clarification.



Write that down in your copybook now.
m_in_m and bilky asko gave kudos
FR
freddied056 Meridian (South) South Today
I saw something earlier that pride events were allowed but expressing support for some ‘trans issues’ such as the existance of more than 2 genders was not, as unlike being gay or lesbian that is still a debated and controversial subject.

Can’t remember who tweeted it, may have been Butterworth.
UL
UsuallyLurks West Country (East) Points West
I saw something earlier that pride events were allowed but expressing support for some ‘trans issues’ such as the existance of more than 2 genders was not, as unlike being gay or lesbian that is still a debated and controversial subject.

Can’t remember who tweeted it, may have been Butterworth.


Yes, it was.



OM
Omnipresent London London
How do you define "attending" Pride?

Pride in London takes over most of the West End! Actually participating in the march, which includes a vast spectrum of religious, political and protest groups, or simply spectating?
UN
Universal_r Central Reporting Scotland
I wonder what would actually happen if one of the staff went against these rules and attended pride or a political march. I can only imagine the backlash and media coverage if someone got in trouble for doing one of those things.
JC
JCB
I wonder what would actually happen if one of the staff went against these rules and attended pride or a political march. I can only imagine the backlash and media coverage if someone got in trouble for doing one of those things.


Should these guidelines fail I assume the next step to assuring the world is protected from the opinions of BBC staff is to forbid them from having access to the internet and locking them in cupboards out of work hours.
BF
BFGArmy Channel Channel Islands
Some points in here probably are reasonable - e.g. “If you have a story to break, the BBC platforms are your priority, even if it takes slightly longer”.

However the policy doesn't seem fit for purpose and is a bit vague in areas where it shouldn't be.
Who's deciding whether a social media account is "an account which reflect only one point of view on matters of public policy" is a grey area (and hard to police - there's always new accounts popping up and who is responsible for judging this, how often would they be judging this). Similarly too what's deemed a “controversial topic" is a grey area and not clear and is the typical BBC issue of trying to create a 'give both sides' narrative in the name of "balance" when not both sides are equally reasonable and deserving of equal coverage.

The discussion point that seems to be doing the rounds this evening is sexuality. The optics of punishing employees in 2020 if they were to support people who are LGBT (e.g. maybe a close friend or colleague who's just come out or who may be LGBT but been abused in public as an example) is awful and would make it appear as if people being LGBT is "up for debate". Even if that's not the intention as Munro's tweet seems to suggest the wooly wording of the policy doesn't make it explicitly clear if something like sexuality is a "controversial topic".

Basically the Beeb had two options: use a 'common sense' type policy when it comes to have employees use social media (so leave it to employees to judge and reprimand them if they're deemed to have crossed the line) or to do an explicit policy explaining what is and isn't acceptable with a list of clear, explicit criteria so even if controversial (I don't think firms should be overly policing what employees do in their own time as long as it doesn't bring the firm into disrepute) everyone would know where they stand.

What the BBC have ended up doing is neither and something which feels 'designed by committee', has created as many questions as it's resolved and probably pleased nobody. The BBC really are their own worst enemy at times.
UL
UsuallyLurks West Country (East) Points West
Some points in here probably are reasonable - e.g. “If you have a story to break, the BBC platforms are your priority, even if it takes slightly longer”.

However the policy doesn't seem fit for purpose and is a bit vague in areas where it shouldn't be.
Who's deciding whether a social media account is "an account which reflect only one point of view on matters of public policy" is a grey area (and hard to police - there's always new accounts popping up and who is responsible for judging this, how often would they be judging this). Similarly too what's deemed a “controversial topic" is a grey area and not clear and is the typical BBC issue of trying to create a 'give both sides' narrative in the name of "balance" when not both sides are equally reasonable and deserving of equal coverage.

The discussion point that seems to be doing the rounds this evening is sexuality. The optics of punishing employees in 2020 if they were to support people who are LGBT (e.g. maybe a close friend or colleague who's just come out or who may be LGBT but been abused in public as an example) is awful and would make it appear as if people being LGBT is "up for debate". Even if that's not the intention as Munro's tweet seems to suggest the wooly wording of the policy doesn't make it explicitly clear if something like sexuality is a "controversial topic".

Basically the Beeb had two options: use a 'common sense' type policy when it comes to have employees use social media (so leave it to employees to judge and reprimand them if they're deemed to have crossed the line) or to do an explicit policy explaining what is and isn't acceptable with a list of clear, explicit criteria so even if controversial (I don't think firms should be overly policing what employees do in their own time as long as it doesn't bring the firm into disrepute) everyone would know where they stand.

What the BBC have ended up doing is neither, created as many questions as it's resolved and probably pleased nobody.


Isn't that what people usually point to as proof that the BBC is supposedly "doing something right"?
SP
Steve in Pudsey Yorkshire Look North (Yorkshire)
Indeed, I would have thought the "we're not neutral on racism" stance established after the Naga Munchetty complaint debacle would have applied equally to sexuality issues in this day and age.
Write that down in your copybook now.
DE
denton
Indeed, I would have thought the "we're not neutral on racism" stance established after the Naga Munchetty complaint debacle would have applied equally to sexuality issues in this day and age.


You'd think so, but no. And that Naga fiasco came literally weeks after the BBC told news staff in Northern Ireland that they were not allowed to attend Belfast Pride. An issue pretty much ignored by the UK wide media at the time, except for one article in the Guardian, but the same policy/excuse that was applied then is what is being applied now.

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