Personal vs BBC Twitter accounts

A Willmore made this Freedom of Information request to British Broadcasting Corporation

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was refused by British Broadcasting Corporation.

Dear British Broadcasting Corporation,

I have explored these muddy waters before, without success, and I would appreciate your guidance and assistance so that I can obtain some useful and meaningful information without falling foul of the "journalism, art and literature" derogation. I am aware of FOI Act Section 16 and I would be grateful if you would apply that to this request as appropriate and if necessary.

After several communications with the BBC Complaints Department it appears to me that BBC staff can either have a "BBC" Twitter account or a "personal" Twitter account, with the latter being outside of their jurisdiction. To me, as a viewer and licence fee payer, it is *extremely* difficult to deduce which is "BBC" and which is "personal". For example, a leading player in BBC News has a Twitter handle of "firstname_lastname" and a description of "<something> Editor @BBCNewsnight" but that is not, apparently, a "BBC" account. Another leading BBC News player has a Twitter handle of "@BBCFirstnameInitial" and has a description of "Watch <this>, Follow @BBCNews, @BBCPolitics, Share stories at #CoronavirusNewscast, Subscribe <here>" but that evidently is a "BBC" account. So how do I tell the difference?

Is it as simple as "BBC" accounts start with "@BBC"? If so, confirmation of that would be extremely helpful. If it is more subtle than that then your guidance would be gratefully received.

As it is, I am wasting my own time and that of BBC Complaints simply because I cannot work out which Twitter accounts are "personal" and which are "BBC". I hope the information you provide will prevent that happening again.

Yours faithfully,

Mr A Willmore

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

Dear Mr A Willmore

Thank you for your request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000, as detailed in your email below. Your request was received on 22nd June 2020.  We will deal with your request as promptly as possible, and at the latest within 20 working days. If you have any queries about your request, please contact us at the address below.

The reference number for your request is RFI20200824.

Kind regards,

Information Rights

BBC Freedom of Information
BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre
201 Wood Lane
London W12 7TP

www.bbc.co.uk/foi
Email: [BBC request email]

show quoted sections

FOI Enquiries, British Broadcasting Corporation

2 Attachments

Dear Mr A Willmore,

                                            

Please find attached the response to your request for information,
reference RFI20200824

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Information Rights

 

BBC Freedom of Information

BC2 A4, Broadcast Centre

201 Wood Lane

London W12 7TP

 

Website: [1]www.bbc.co.uk/foi

Email: [2]mailto:[BBC request email]

[3]Description: Description: \\BBCFS2025\UserData$\myrien01\Documents\My
Pictures\BBC.png

 

 

References

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1. file:///tmp/www.bbc.co.uk/foi
2. mailto:[BBC request email]

A Willmore left an annotation ()

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is what chucking £157.50 down the toilet gets us. Fan-bloomin'-tastic.

Dear FOI Enquiries,

In the past, with other requests, I have always made a point of thanking you for your response and the useful information contained therein. In this case, however, your particularly unhelpful response does not warrant any thanks, so I will refrain from doing so on this occasion.

I know only too well of the derogation, and I asked for your assistance and guidance to avoid falling foul of it as I knew there was a significant risk that I would. I feel sure that you could have made some useful suggestions before sending an almost mechanised refusal, but for reasons best known to yourselves you chose not to assist. Your secrecy surrounding this topic is, quite frankly, beyond belief.

I am, of course, left with nowhere to go now but it does give me greater impetus to send more messages to BBC Complaints concerning BBC staff Twitter messages, and I will quote this FOI reference in every one just to show that I have attempted to work out which are personal, and which are BBC.

For readers of the whatdotheyknow web site, here are some examples of BBC staff Twitter accounts. See if you can work out whether they are "BBC" or "personal"...

James Cook : @jamesdgcook : Exec Editor BBC Creative Development Unit for Radio/Pods: Bloodsport, BBC Earth Pod, Wheel of Misfortune. All my opinions are official BBC policy. ALL of them.

Dominic Casciani : @BBCDomC : #multitasking BBC News Home Affairs Correspondent. Stories, Features, Documentaries, including The Mafia Man in the Lancashire Caravan: http://bbc.in/2UV2ILv

Lewis Goodall : @lewis_goodall : Policy Editor @BBCNewsnight. I cover politics, policy, economics and government in the UK and beyond | Author: Left for Dead. Buy here- http://bit.ly/2KEYHSk : [email address]

According to BBC Complaints, Mr Goodall's is "personal".

Yours sincerely,

Mr A Willmore

A Willmore left an annotation ()

I've just had a direct email from BBC FOI saying "As stated in our response, the BBC does not offer an internal review when the information requested is not covered by the Act.".

That's odd because it has not come via this site, and I did not ask for internal review.