The Associated Press has updated their tweeting guidelines once again. This time the revamp focuses on retweets.
As Poynter reports, staff are told to keep opinions to themselves – and to AP, a retweet can be seen as an opinion. Disclaimers on retweets and endorsements, editorial staff adds, won’t cut it, either.
Here is the full update on the guidelines from AP deputy managing editor Tom Kent, as reported by Poynter:
Retweets, like tweets, should not be written in a way that looks like you’re expressing a personal opinion on the issues of the day. A retweet with no comment of your own can easily be seen as a sign of approval of what you’re relaying. For instance:
RT @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT @dailyeuropean at last, a euro plan that works bit.ly/xxxxx.
These kinds of unadorned retweets must be avoided.
However, we can judiciously retweet opinionated material if we make clear we’re simply reporting it, much as we would quote it in a story. Colons and quote marks help make the distinction:
RT Jones campaign now denouncing smith on education: @jonescampaign smith’s policies would destroy our schools
RT big European paper praises euro plan: @dailyeuropean “at last, a euro plan that works” bit.ly/xxxxx.
These cautions apply even if you say on your Twitter profile that retweets do not constitute endorsements.
What do you think? Does Kent have it right, or is he out of touch?