BBC under scrutiny over Twitter mistake on Arab Israeli conflict

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The BBC has come under scrutiny over its Twitter guidance policy after the BBC Trust upheld a complaint against correspondent Wyre Davies who was reporting on an incident in Gaza, according to media reports on Friday.

The trust concluded that a tweet sent by Davies breached the corporation’s accuracy guidelines after it was later established that his tweet was misleading.

Davies had tweeted: “In this ‘limited operation’ at least 13 Palestinians and 3 Israelis have been killed - nearly all civilians. #Gaza,” however it later emerged that four of the casualties were civilians. The remainder was described as “militants.”

“The Trust has not asked the Executive to carry out a formal review of its Twitter policy but rather highlighted that the current guidance of its use by BBC staff should be looked at and if necessary additional guidance be issued,” the Trust said.

Chris Hamilton, the BBC's social media editor for Journalism, stated: “To uphold the complaint would suggest that for all tweeting, from both individuals and ‘branded’ accounts (for example, @BBCBreaking), we must continuously be deleting tweets sent in good faith at the time and clarifying them with new tweets, potentially long after the event, as new information emerges on any given news story.

“It even suggests we should do the same for news stories in our website archive,” he added.

The BBC’s coverage of the Arab/Israeli conflict has been under intense scrutiny since the Glasgow University Media Group published a report- “Bad News from Israel,” which determined that it was decidedly pro-Israeli in its reporting.

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