Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

The New York Times released new social media guidelines for its entire newsroom on Friday, urging employees to refrain from posting anything that could be construed as biased. (Photo: Florent Lamoureux/Flickr/cc)

Journalists Express Concerns Over New York Times' New Social Media Rules

Some worry the guidelines could be "weaponized" by anti-press groups

Julia Conley

Journalists expressed concerns about potential fallout from the New York Times' unveiling of its new social media policy for its employees on Friday, with some alarmed that the strict new rules could be "weaponized" against Times journalists.

Executive editor Dean Baquet released the new guidelines citing "potential risks" social media poses for the newspaper, should journalists' posts on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms be perceived as biased.

While many reporters make clear on their Twitter biographies that their posts do not denote endorsements of viewpoints or represent the Times itself, the paper issued a new guideline stating that "Our journalists should be especially mindful of appearing to take sides on issues that the Times is seeking to cover objectively."

The new guidelines apply "everyone in every department of the newsroom, including those not involved in coverage of government and politics," and to journalists' accounts across social media, including ones for personal use.

While you may think that your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media accounts are private zones, separate from your role at The Times, in fact everything we post or “like” online is to some degree public. And everything we do in public is likely to be associated with The Times...

Avoid joining private and “secret” groups on Facebook and other platforms that may have a partisan orientation. You should also refrain from registering for partisan events on social media.

Journalists from the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post brought up concerns that the new rules could be used against Times employees by those eager to attack the news media in the current anti-press environment, promoted by the White House. In recent weeks the Trump administration suggested Jemele Hill should be fired from her job as a sports anchor at ESPN, after she attacked the president's ties to white supremacists.

Hamilton Nolan of Splinter News suggested the monitoring of journalists' private use of social media was an overstep by the Times.

Nick Baumann of the Huffington Post argued that the newspaper should maintain transparency in its engagement with the public—including on social media.

Meawhile, others suggested the Times's new rules are an attempt to appease more conservative readers.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Senators Set to Leave Town for 10-Day Recess Without Action on Gun Violence Crisis

"How many more children, mothers, and fathers need to be murdered in cold blood before the Senate has the guts to ban assault weapons and take on the NRA?" asked Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Jake Johnson ·


Scientists to BlackRock Vice Chairman: New Fossil Fuel Development 'Incompatible' With 1.5°C

"The only responsible course of action is to do everything in our power to stop fossil fuel expansion and further emissions."

Jessica Corbett ·


Goldman Prize Awarded to Activists Who Showed Nature's 'Amazing Capability to Regenerate'

"While the many challenges before us can feel daunting, and at times make us lose faith, these seven leaders give us a reason for hope and remind us what can be accomplished in the face of adversity."

Julia Conley ·


Faith Leaders Call for Federal Election Monitors in Georgia to Protect Black Voters

"It is imperative that our election this November is monitored to preserve ballot integrity and ensure ballot security."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Inaction Is Bought': Here Are the Receipts on NRA's Purchase of GOP

"The issue is money in politics," said Nina Turner after the nation's latest mass killing of students and teachers. Right-wing lawmakers are "allowing children to die because of the gun lobby."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo