New BBC rules ban journalists from 'virtue signalling' on social media 10 months ago

New BBC rules ban journalists from 'virtue signalling' on social media

They have also been told to be careful with their emojis.

BBC journalists have been told to avoid "virtue signalling" as part of new social media guidelines published today.


The guidelines apply to everyone who works for the BBC, but there are additional rules for those working in news and current affairs or factual journalism production, which cover their "expressions of opinion on social media".

BBC workers in those positions are told that nothing that appears on their personal social accounts should "undermine the perception of the BBC’s integrity or impartiality."

In particular, they are told to "avoid ‘virtue signalling’ – retweets likes or joining online campaigns to indicate a personal view, no matter how apparently worthy the cause."

It also says not to make posts quickly without thinking about the language being used.

Journalists have been told to watch their emoji usage on social media, as apparently they can "accidentally or deliberately undercut an otherwise impartial post." So no more use of the eyes, or the vomiting face.

The four key social media rules laid out for all BBC employees, contractors and freelancers in the guidelines areare:

  1. Always behave professionally, treating others with respect and courtesy at all times: follow the BBC’s Values.
  2. Don’t bring the BBC into disrepute.
  3. If your work requires you to maintain your impartiality, don’t express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or ‘controversial subjects’.
  4. Don’t criticise your colleagues in public. Respect the privacy of the workplace and the confidentiality of internal announcements.

The new guidlines follow the appointment of new Director-General Tim Davie in September.

In his inaugural speech in Cardiff on September 3rd, Davie outlined impartiality as one of his four key priorities.

"We’ll take action in coming weeks, but to be clear, there will be new guidance on how we best deliver our impartiality guideline," he said in his speech.

"New social media rules, which will be rigorously enforced; and clearer direction on the declaration of external interests. There will be new training across the organisation, to explore the tough, but interesting dilemmas that the modern world presents."