Knight Center
Knight Center


New AP social media guidelines provide direction on live-tweeting, "friending" politicians

Illustrating the difficulty of keeping up with the ever-evolving relationship between journalism and social media, the Associated Press (AP) again has updated its social media guidelines for reporters, said the AP wire service. The updates include new directions on how to live-tweet events, and how to "follow" or "like" politicians via their social media accounts. Previous updates about correcting and deleting tweets came in January of this year.

According to the new guidance, reporters are allowed to live-tweet events as long as they already have informed the news desk and finished any other AP work. When it comes to exclusive content, however, "AP news services must have the opportunity to publish exclusive text, photo and video material before it appears on social networks," according to the guidelines.

For interacting with politicians, the guidelines state that "friending and 'liking' political candidates or causes may create a perception among people unfamiliar with the protocol of social networks that AP staffers are advocates. Therefore, staffers should try to make this kind of contact with figures on both sides of controversial issues."

The update to the AP's social media guidelines again raised debate about the wire service's restrictions on re-tweeting posts that require staffers to make clear they are not spreading or endorsing opinions, according to Poynter. The re-tweet rules prompted critics to contend that the AP just doesn't understand Twitter.

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