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IPSO issues guidance on using material taken from social media

The Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) yesterday issued guidance for editors and journalists relating to the republication of material taken from social media.

Social media has revolutionised how individuals communicate and how they consume news, it is also changing how journalists research and write stories. This leads to questions from journalists and editors on how they can use information from social media, which IPSO addresses through this guidance.

The guidance contains a framework for editors and journalists as well as relevant case studies. It encourages editors and journalists to consider key questions in line with the Editors’ Code of Practice, such as to what extent the information is in the public domain; what is the nature of the material; who posted the information and the importance of protecting children; before republishing information from social media.

The guidance follows last year’s guidance on researching and reporting stories involving transgender individuals.

Commenting on the guidance, IPSO’s Head of Standards Charlotte Urwin said: “IPSO is regularly contacted by editors and journalists seeking advice on how the Editors’ Code of Practice applies to the use of material taken from social media. Generally, journalists and editors ask whether a particular piece of information, often a photograph, taken from a social media site can be republished without breaching the Code.”

“This guidance provides editors and journalists with a framework for thinking through these questions and some examples of relevant decisions by IPSO’s Complaints Committee. We hope it will be used by editors and journalists at all our 2,500 online and printed publications and we will produce public-facing information on this topic in the autumn.”