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AFP updates guidelines on using Social media

International news agency AFP has published a new guide on how its journalists should use social networks including tighter rules on making accounts secure.

Social media have become a primary source of information and an integral part of life for billions of people around the world, and the AFP management ‘strongly encourages’ its journalists to open accounts.

In the light of hacking attacks on media Twitter accounts, the new guidelines put extra emphasis on security – staff are advised to choose strong passwords that are at least eight characters long and include a mixture of upper and lower case letters, as well as symbols and numbers. Passwords should be changed regularly, and not stored in easily accessible files. Staffers should also watch out for phishing attacks and fraudulent emails.

Staffers should not tweet alerts directly but can retweet alerts already moved by the agency’s @AFP account. They can however tweet observations, colour and anecdotes and should use smart phones to send photos and short videos.

Journalists are warned that breaking news often attracts tweets that are speculative or just plain wrong, and to be vigilant when retweeting information. If a correspondent sees a tweet they know to be wrong and that runs counter to what AFP has reported, then they are free to point that out.

Around 300 AFP journalists are active on social networks, most notably on Twitter, and the number is growing.

The presence of AFP journalists on social networks helps build the agency’s credibility across the Internet and shows that AFP has a solid presence across the spectrum of digital and traditional media.

AFP’s presence on social networks has grown since the first guide was published in 2011, and the agency has more than a dozen accounts on Twitter alone, along with Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, Lindkedin and YouTube and Daily Motion.

To see the AFP guide to using social networks click on this link.

About AFP

AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, accurate, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology. With 2,260 journalists spread across almost every country, AFP covers the world 24 hours a day in six languages. AFP delivers the news in video, text, photos, multimedia and graphics to a wide range of customers including newspapers and magazines, radio and TV channels, web sites and portals, mobile operators, corporate clients as well as public institutions.

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