Social media platforms have come under much scrutiny in recent years for becoming a space in which television’s contributors are vulnerable to the reception of negative posts and comments. The impact of this can be extremely harmful to the contributor and adversely affect their general wellbeing and mental health. It is difficult to regulate online trolling, due to the anonymous attacker hiding behind a screen. There are, however, steps both the individual and production company can take to provide excellent contributor care and make online interaction as safe and enjoyable as possible.
In a statement published by Ofcom, it is declared that it is the responsibility of the broadcaster to, at an appropriate stage, inform the contributor about the ‘potential negative consequences arising from their participation in the programme which may affect their welfare’ (p. 8) as well as any steps taken intended to mitigate these. Unsolicited attention and commentary on social media are potential negative consequences of participating in a show, and require support and guidance in order to be dealt with in the best way possible.
Through the provision of social media privacy guidelines, the contributor can prepare themselves for being in the public eye and the online interaction that this may result in, both positive and negative. They will be able to take precautions to ensure their social media presence is as secure as possible and does not contain any sensitive information, avoid harmful online content and interaction, and gain the knowledge required to block and report any abuse they may receive.
These guidelines could include the following topics:
Tips on how to interact with online communities
Privacy settings and how to adjust privacy settings for each platform
Advice in reporting to networks
Further resources for help and guidance
At SMMS, we offer contributor care packages, advice, and guidelines to help indies and broadcasters provide effective and meaningful support to their contributors and cast. If you’re not using an external agency, we highly recommend that all indies spend time drafting thorough guidelines and spending time talking to each contributor ahead of a TX as part of their standard duty of care protocol.
If you’d like a copy of our standard social media guidelines, please email email@example.com.
Stay safe everyone,