While The Express continues to attack BBC that the corporation was keeping Twitter accounts with 0 to 2 followers, the comments by BBC’s director-general Tim Davie have left the broadcasters and contributors puzzled.
It has been alleged by some opponents that the BBC’s social media accounts have been used to promote personal agendas or political ideas.
After Tim Davie’s statements on Twitter limits, regular freelance contributors and BBC broadcasters were left outraged and bewildered this weekend.
On Thursday, Davie urged broadcasters and journalists to exercise moderation and greater objectivity. The BBC’s director-general had asked that if someone wanted to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan activist, they could do that, but you shouldn’t be working for the BBC.
Many of the BBC’s greatest figures, like Laura Kuenssberg and Andrew Neil, have been accused of letting their political opinions reflect in their online remarks, prompting the harsh warning. Kuenssberg disputes that her objectivity is compromised.
However, because they work outside of news and current affairs, some of the most high-profile BBC employees, such as Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, are unlikely to be affected by Davie’s decree.
Many of those who are frequently employed in Broadcasting House but are not on staff questioned if the new restrictions will cover them and BBC tweeters notably held fire online until things became obvious.
One long-term contributor argued that they were employed because of their expertise and to provide an overview. As a result, the BBC’s social media team frequently retweets their content. The contributor further maintained that this would not work if they were not free to express themselves in their own way. It was further claimed that the BBC will soon discover that new rivals, such as the Times Radio will be boosting up their own social media punditry.
Even though they may be intimately connected with the BBC brand, many of those who lead programs on radio and television are employed on a temporary basis.
Even though they may be intimately connected with the BBC brand, many of those who lead programs on radio and television are employed on a temporary basis. Some well-known news and current affairs reporters were encouraged to create a personal internet following and tweet breaking news and analysis as it happened when social media first emerged.
Attempts to curb the proliferation of biased tweets will be made more difficult by the recent influx of talented journalists. Conservative pundits have singled out Newsnight’s Lewis Goodall and Rianna Croxford for pursuing political prosecutions and campaigns rather than simply reporting the facts.
Furthermore, younger reporters who communicate and receive all their news via Twitter, and who are engaged in journalism as a means of promoting social change, will have a tough time adapting to the old-school constraints.
Even the most seasoned BBC presenters regularly use separate Twitter accounts to promote their wider journalism and to indicate their political viewpoints. Angry by the government’s response to the Covid-19 education problem, Andrea Catherwood has a “pinned tweet” on her Twitter page.