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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

New Associated Press rules on retweeting prompt backlash as journalists say news agency just doesn't "get" Twitter



After previously warning staffers to rein in personal opinions on social media, now the Associated Press has updated its social media guidelines regarding retweets, according to Poynter.

According to the Associated Press (AP), the only change to the guidelines, which were last updated in July, involves a section on retweeting, and explicit directions for how to use the "RT" signifying the post is a retweet. The change in part reads, "Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day...These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements."

MediaBistro said the AP's new rule would lead to "tone-deaf" tweeting, as the rule "goes against the accepted syntax of Twitter...The organization is clearly still struggling with dealing with the open and opinionated nature of social media when it comes to their members, who, in their opinion, must remain as objective and unbiased as possible."

The AP is facing backlash because of the retweet guidelines, which have been "savaged as draconian by a number of journalist tweeters," who say the AP just doesn't get Twitter, explained The Atlantic, adding, "Hell hath no fury like a journalist who can't freely retweet." The Atlantic compiled a list of journalist tweets about the guidelines, including that of The New York Times's media critic David Carr, who tweeted, "AP to staff: Don't retweet anything with an opinion. http://bit.ly/rKbgDE Good luck with that."

The AP's revision comes after several other news organizations, including the American Society of News Editors, Bloomberg, ESPN, and the Brazilian news site UOL, also have issued policies on how to use Twitter and social media.



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