Bloomberg policy: ‘Ask questions first. Tweet later’

Emedia Vitals
Bloomberg social media director Dan Fletcher tells employees that Twitter is “the best way to help readers discover the work you’re doing and monitoring conversations within your beat,” but that “we should not share work in progress or use social media as a vehicle for breaking news.” Bloomberg’s Social Media Guidelines — obtained by Ellie Behling — are after the jump.

Social Media Guidelines

Joining Social Networks

Every social network has its own set of terms and conditions that govern the data that appears on the site. In many cases, social networks reserve the right to display portions of a user’s personal information or updates without additional consent.

Some social networks offer privacy settings to help protect the spread of information outside of a user’s friends and followers on a social network. These protections, while useful, are fallible. Assume anything posted on the Web is publicly available.

Deleting a post does not ensure its removal from the Web. Assume anything posted will be available in perpetuity.

Personal Conduct

We should not use social networks to express political opinions or to advocate on behalf of a particular issue or agenda. Posts should never express bias based on race, sex, religion, or nationality.

Reporters and editors cannot use social media to express opinions related in any way to their professional assignment or beat. We must be mindful readers depend on our reporting for observation and insight derived from fact – not from opinion or gossip.

We must be transparent at all times about our occupations. Most social networks include a personal profile section, which is usually the best opportunity to provide background information.

Do not join groups on social networks dedicated to a particular political opinion or cause.

Do not engage in arguments with those critical of our work or critical of Bloomberg News.

Do not disparage the work of others.

Assume internal Bloomberg discussions and meetings are “off-the-record” unless otherwise stated.

Reporting / Sharing Our Work

Social media is an excellent means of promoting our work. As such, there should be a preference for linking to Bloomberg.com stories. However, it’s good Web and social media etiquette to give credit in the form of a link to work that is interesting or valuable, regardless of the source.

Be cognizant that reposting (on Twitter, “retweeting”) updates from other sources may be viewed as an implicit endorsement of a specific viewpoint or fact. As such, we must apply the same standards of fairness and verification as we would to any other posting.

We should not share work in progress or use social media as a vehicle for breaking news. As ever, news must always break first on the Bloomberg Terminal.

Accuracy

Be skeptical of any information forwarded on a social network. Memes and misinformation spread more rapidly online than anywhere else. We must apply the same standards of verification as we would to any other source.
Any update benefits from a second review before posting. Because of the nature of social media, the “two pairs of eyes” rule may not always be practical. However, remember our posts are always available for public and editorial review.

In the event of an erroneous post, delete and issue a corrected version, noting the correction. 
Above all else, we must avoid any action that could call our impartiality into question. When in doubt, contact an editor for guidance.

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Earlier posts:
> Social media rules for Freedom Communications employees
> Washington Post releases social media guidelines | More on WP rules

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  • http://twitter.com/michvinmar Michael V. Marcotte

    The business imperatives are clear in these guidelines and thus they don’t necessarily transfer to journalists outside the Bloomberg tent. Best case in point is the restriction on Twittering work in progress. Why not tweet the news in real time? Not because it is bad journalism, but as the guidelines say: “As ever, news must always break first on the Bloomberg Terminal.” So be it. But in our public radio newsrooms we’ve been adopting more of a “tweet-as-you-go” strategy. Not with abandonment of verification but as the new “first draft of history.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504695562 Amy Gahran

    Hmmm… Seems to me that bloomberg doesn’t seem to understand that joining a discussion group or liking a Facebook page doesn’t imply agreement or endorsement. It’s more like covering a meeting. Why ban reporters from joining political groups? Better to discuss how to conduct themselves there.

    Also, it’s unclear whether this applies to all social media activity on all accounts, or only just on work accounts.