The UK’s four main terrestrial broadcasters have agreed a new set of social media guidelines for the use of sites like Twitter and Facebook in connection with premium-rate competitions and voting.
The Association of Interactive Media & Entertainment (AIME), which includes the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5, outlined rules, such as the need for broadcasters to be able to refund premium-rate services on any platform, including social media.
Other considerations include making sure that votes are run fairly and that social media promotions for certain contestants don’t skew the results. Broadcasters that encourage users to vote via sites like Facebook, using Facebook Credits, should also make sure that the consumer is told the price and “other key information” before they purchase
AIME warned that social media can produce negative comments about participants in an event, and recommended that broadcasters make it clear to participants this may be the case. It also encouraged broadcasters not to solicit votes from those under the age of 16, around family-oriented shows like Britain’s Got Talent.
“Significant numbers of TV viewers are simultaneously online while watching television, using social networking services such as Twitter and Facebook, and this creates opportunities for people to become even more socially engaged with TV programming,” said AIME.
“This has enormous significance for broadcasters, not only as a platform for direct engagement but also because viewers can actively engage with each other and influence each other’s interactivity behaviour, particularly around live event programming.”