Friday, May 3, 2013

Green's unauthorised use of Twitter brings ABC into disrepute

Antony Green, ABC Electoral Analysts, use of Twitter has brought the ABC into disrepute.

According Alan Sunderland, Head of Policy & Staff Development at the ABC,  Antony Green's Twitter account is not an official or authorised ABC account. As such it falls outside the parameters of the ABC charter 

The ABC has a policy on the use of social media which states that "Personal and professional use of social media by ABC staff and contractors must not bring the ABC into disrepute, compromise effectiveness at work, imply ABC endorsement of personal views or disclose, without authorisation,
confidential information"

The policy applies to all ABC workplace participants, which includes: 
all ABC employees  –  including  casual, fixed term and specified task employees, employees on probation, part-time employees, managers,  actors engaged under the  ABC  Actors  Agreement,
employees working from home as well as full-time and ongoing employees; people providing services to the ABC on a contract basis (including ABC artists) or on secondment from or to another organisation, even if they are only working at the ABC on a temporary basis;   

Interactive services, which include social media like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, are part of the ABC’s future as a public broadcaster and increasingly part of the work  and private lives of ABC staff and contractors. 

The ABC encourages use of social media to engage existing and new audiences with ABC content, and to seek and share user‐generated content. Use of social media by staff and contractors  is not limited to the  workplace  and  occurs for  professional  or personal purposes  both  in  and  out of work hours.

Four standards apply to work and personal use of interactive services, with ABC accounts and personal accounts, by staff and contractors, at any time:
1. Do not mix the professional and the personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute.
2. Do not undermine your effectiveness at work.
3. Do not imply ABC endorsement of your personal views.
4. Do not disclose confidential information obtained through work. 

The ABC will enforce the four standards as and when appropriate.

The problem is that Mr Greens Twitter account implies that it has been authorised and endorsed by the ABC.

Unlike other ABC Staff members who also hold a twitter account Mr Green's account makes direct reference to the ABC in his twitter id and user profile  @AntonyGreenABC.  Antony Green's Twitter Account is also listed on the ABC website.

No other ABC staff members personal twitter account makes this direct implication. 

Antony Green by implying his account is endorsed or authorized by the ABC and forms part of his employment duties has and continues to bring the ABC into disrepute.  There is no disclaimer or statement of disassociation or non-endorsement. As stated by Alan Sunderland his account has not been authorised and any implication that it has is in direct breach of the ABC policy guidelines and as such falls outside the standards and guidelines of ABC.

Alan Sunderland notes "Many users include disclaimers in the profile section of their accounts making it very clear that the views contained in the twitter feed are personal, Others do not specifically reference such disclaimers, but that in and of itself is not a contravention of policy. Regardless of whether such a specific disclaimer is made, the fact is that such accounts are (a) personal, and (b) subject to the Social Media Policy"

Catch 22

Antony Green continues to use the resources of the ABC mixing his personal and professional interests.

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