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BBC staff told to avoid showing support for political parties in new social media guidelines

BBC staff are told to avoid showing support for political parties in new social media guidelines.

They are also warned against virtue signalling — retweets, likes or joining online campaigns — and be cautious with their use of emojis.

The political support rule applies to news and current affairs staff, as well as senior leaders.

And the guidance says: “Use of emojis can — accidentally, or deliberately — undercut an otherwise impartial post.”

BBC News at Ten presenter Huw Edwards tweeted a series of Welsh flags in response.

The rules are part of a new set of instructions and guidance, alongside new training, that aim to "ensure the highest possible standards of impartiality across the organisation".

Staff cannot express views on any policy which is a matter of current political debate or on matters of public policy, political or industrial controversy, or any other "controversial subject."

The new guidelines come after the BBC's director-general warned staff over their use of social media and said those wanting to be an "opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media" had no place at the BBC.

The guidelines tell all employees, regardless of their department, that they must "always behave professionally, treating others with respect and courtesy at all times."

The corporation said a breach of the guidance may lead to disciplinary action, which could include the sack.

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