13 June 2018
Guidance for broadcasters on using social media content released today
A guidance note for broadcasters on using third party content, including content sourced from social media platforms,
has been released today. The guidance has been prepared by broadcasters for use by broadcasters and all media, with the
support of the BSA.
The initiative follows research published by the BSA in July 2017 into how New Zealanders feel about their personal
social media posts being used in broadcast items.
The guidance encourages broadcasters to consider some key questions when deciding whether to use content sourced from
third parties, specifically:
• Is it true?
• Is it newsworthy?
• Will it cause harm?
• Can you mitigate any risk of harm?
A group of broadcaster representatives prepared the note with input from the BSA and Netsafe.
The BSA’s 2017 research into the use of social media content in broadcasting highlighted that the public believe care
needs to be taken when social media content is used in broadcasting. At a workshop hosted by the BSA last year,
broadcasters agreed that further guidance would assist decision-making about use of sources, such as social media
Phil O’Sullivan, Editor Newsgathering at TVNZ, one of the broadcaster representatives involved in preparing the
“Broadcasters and all journalists work hard to bring news and stories to the people of New Zealand quickly, accurately
and respectfully. We need to get the story right, to think about and respect those impacted. We give careful thought to
using content provided by others, such as social media posts. This guidance note has been prepared by broadcasters, with
the support of the BSA, to help our industry make good decisions about using third party content in the stories being
Belinda Moffat, Chief Executive of the BSA, hopes the guidance note will assist all broadcasters to think about the key
questions to consider before using third party content in broadcasting.
“The key focus of this guidance is whether publication of the third party content will cause harm and how can that harm
be mitigated: Are there ethical issues to consider such as the well-being of children or vulnerable people if the
content is published? Have cultural considerations been taken into account? Are there privacy or consent issues to
consider? This guidance provides broadcasters with a practical resource to assist them to make these decisions,” Ms
The Broadcasting Standards Authority’s research report, Use of Social Media Content in Broadcasting: Public and Broadcaster Perspectives, is available on our websitehere