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Reuters' ethics editor urges social media caution on US election

Reuters on Tuesday urged its staff to exercise caution on social media websites " Twitter, Facebook and others " about comment on the US election.

A premature tweet, for example, announcing a candidate’s victory before a race is clearly decided, or a tweet or retweet indicating any preference for a candidate may raise questions about Reuters’ campaign coverage “and our dedication to accuracy, fairness and freedom from bias”, global ethics and standards editor Alix Freedman said in a memo to US news staff.

“Please also keep in mind that our exit poll results are exclusively for our internal use, at least until the pertinent races have been called and we have made the relevant exit polling data public.

“As the handbook says, ‘Reuters journalists should be mindful of the impact their publicly expressed opinions can have on their work and on Reuters. … Before you tweet or post, consider how what you’re doing will reflect on your professionalism and our collective reputation’.” ■

Jim Romenesko