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BBC weighs ban to end Twitter leaks

British Broadcasting Corporation considers adding clause to contracts to stop talent such as actors from using social media to disclose production information prematurely.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor on

Following a slew of revealing tweets posted by celebrities participating in various British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) projects, the media company is considering banning involved talent from discussing confidential information about its productions via social networking sites, according to a news report.

British daily The Guardian reported Monday that talks are already underway to introduce a contract clause that will forbid actors, writers and other staff from discussing details of their involvement in BBC productions if the information is deemed confidential or sensitive.

Celebrity Twitter leaks have "disrupted press and marketing campaigns", and BBC executives hope that a BBC-wide ban will stop details such as spoilers, teasers, casting news and other press announcements from being revealed prematurely, Guardian said.

For example, British singer Sophie Ellis-Bextor's tweet about her appearance on an upcoming comedy was said to have "undermined a carefully crafted BBC announcement". Similarly, Twitter posts by actor Stephen Mangan and writer-comedian Armando Iannucci revealed two returning television programs prior to BBC making the information public.

One BBC executive told Guardian: "There's no doubt that Twitter is a popular communications phenomenon but it can also be quite disruptive if artists tweet about an appearance on a show or announce a new commission before the broadcaster is ready to go with the story.

"Broadcasters can have a number of reasons for wanting to delay press announcements, such as the deal not being done or contracts not being signed or, indeed, the broadcaster wanting to make a big splash with a great story at a particularly opportune moment. A random tweet can rob an artist of his or her potentially much louder fanfare."

BBC already has in place formal guidelines on the use of social media for staff when posting in a BBC capacity, the Guardian report noted. The company, however, pointed out that most of the stars' tweeting falls under "personal usage" and they need to be "advised by their agents on how to conduct themselves".

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