The legal risks and the policies of social media in BBC

About BBC

After introducing BBC 2.0 and some the risks of Enterprise 2.0 on this blog, the potential legal risks of using social media in the BBC news company is going to be discussed in detail while it participates in social media for its business. Under BBC’s currect policies, BBC does not forbid its employees to access social-network websites or using Web 2.0 applications. This means employees could post messages, pictures and even videos on Facebook, Twitter and MSN during working time.

Confidential Information

When employees post the articles, messages or pictures relating to their work for sharing their life with friends on their blogs, Facebook or Twitter, they might accidentally provide some chances for certain people to collect the information of BBC. On the other hand, the information asset of this company could be exposed deliberately by unhappy employees while the policy of BBC does not restrict the employees’ freedom of new social media on the internet.

Technology Risks

In spite of insiders, external attackers can gain valuable information by listening to voice conversations, searching email messages and even controlling the built-in camera to take pictures or record video on employees’ mobile devices. In addition to this, all messages between the sender and the receiver could be controlled by a third party who pretends that he or she is the person they wish to communicate for both sides. This situation might result from certain attacks including phishing, social engineering and email address or webpage spoofing.

Potential Consequences

Firstly, attackers might disclose some confidential information in BBC Company to take advantage of it. For example, the email addresses of BBC Company customers, the latest reports and exclusive photos stolen from employees’ personal devices could be sold to competitive companies. Another point is that false news could be made up and published once attackers access in these personal devices. This would considerably harm the repetition of BBC Company.

Social Media Policy

Last month, BBC published its social media guidelines (PDF) for journalists in order to deal with some of these potential legal risks. In addition to this, BBC has provided its official tweeters’ guidance (PDF) to avoid personal interests or unrelated issues. More BBC’s social media strategies on social networking and microblogging sites are introduced in its guidance. There is a tendency that BBC will become considerably successful in Enterprise 2.0 under its social media guidelines and guidance.


BBC policies, standards and guidelines

Updated social media guidance for BBC journalists

BBC publishes its social media guidelines for journalists

Social Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websites: Personal Use

Social Networking, Microblogs and other Third Party Websites: BBC Use

BBC News: Social media guidance (PDF)

BBC News: Official tweeters’ guidance (PDF)


BBC editorial guideline

How to Reduce Social Media Risk in Your Company: A LinkedIn Discussion

From LauraK to NormanS


8 responses to “The legal risks and the policies of social media in BBC

  1. Hey, thats a nice post. It is really a hassle for media companies such as BBC to draw up a thorough social media policy to ensure that all the loopholes are covered. The last thing they need is a PR meltdown on social media channels. I did a similar post on ESPN so do visit my blog! Thanks for sharing. Cheers.

  2. Hi Jerome, I do like the points about ESPN’s SMP in your article. I have not thought ESPN is so successful in Enterprise 2.0 and has established its SMP comprehensively until reading your post. Thanks for sharing this case with us.

  3. Very interesting post. It was great to read a post about a media company such as BBC and how they would cope with the risks of Social media

  4. Thanks for visiting and leaving comment 🙂 You got the point. As a media company, BBC has efficiently used social media into its organization instead of being replaced by them. At the same time, BBC has addressed the potential risks from these social media by its SMP. This company is really incredible!

  5. Very interesting example. I believe when enterpirse using Web2.0 tools to increase efficiency, it also need to be prepared to face the risk prevention through the same time. Risk Management will become more complex and need a good guidelines in the future.

    • You’re right that Risk management is a key point in organizations, especially when they are using Web 2.0. There are many legal risks which may not been discover easily in Enterprise 2.0. Companies should be aware of these potential problem in advance.

  6. Hey there, Very good post, I like how BBC employees can use facebook and twitter during their work, it makes the day some much more interesting 🙂 Keep up the good work.

    • That’s true that it is fun for employees to work by using social media. For companies, however, it could be a risk of its business under certain circumstances. Because of this, BBC established several policies to deal with these potential situations. Thanks for your encouragement. I’ll keep going on this blog. ^ ^

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