Associated Press's Continued Delusion: Social Networking Guidelines Require Employees To Delete Other People's Content

from the hello,-let-me-explain-to-you-the-web dept

It's no secret that the Associated Press has had a rather difficult time figuring out its place in the online world, often resorting back to weak attempts to re-enact the old walls and scarcities that simply don't exist in the internet world. Lately, it's been having a lot of trouble figuring out how to have its own employees interact on social networks -- first reprimanding an employee for stating his personal opinion about an AP-member newspaper in his Facebook account. Now, however, the AP has released "staff guidelines" for how to use social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, and there are some highly questionable rules there. The one getting the most attention -- for good reason -- is the bizarre and troubling demand that those who use Facebook not only have to watch their own language, but the language of any friend that posts a comment on their Facebook "wall." Seriously. They want AP employees to comb through any comments that friends/family/etc. post on their wall -- and if they "violate AP standards: any such material should be deleted." It's difficult to fathom how this could possibly make sense and isn't a huge burden for AP employees as well as obnoxious to their friends and family. Does the AP also tell its employees that when out to dinner with friends, they must "shush" them if their friends say anything not up to "AP standards"?
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Filed Under: guidelines, reporters, social networks
Companies: associated press

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  1. identicon
    hegemon13, 25 Jun 2009 @ 7:06am

    This is not for personal pages

    Just about every company is sending social networking policy guidelines around right now. I received one from both my jobs in the last month. These kinds of provisions are not rare, nor are they really that unreasonable because the do NOT apply to personal pages unless you are talking about your employer there. Basically, they say that, as an employee, you are a representative for the company. Anything you post on a social networking site concerning the company could reflect back on them. My company makes it easier. They have just stated that you may not post anything "on behalf of the company" without prior approval.

    So, this article really makes a bigger stink out of this than it is. The AP can't discipline Joe Schmoe for swearing on his own personal page. They can discipline him for not strictly maintaining/filtering a page he runs on behalf of the company, and they could probably discipline him for publicly bashing the company on his personal page. And before people start screaming about free speech, don't. We are only protected from the government, not private corporations. If you wrote an extremely derogatory article about your own company in the Letters to the Editor of your newspaper, you would be likewise disciplined.

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