Wednesday, August 5, 2009

espn becomes worldwide leader in twitter censorship

ESPN has adopted new rules for tweeters and pretty much banned their on-air personalities and employees from using the social media tool for anything not ESPN-approved. ESPN is worried that people will follow the tweets of ESPN personalities instead of viewing web content at That will cost them page views and ultimately online ad revenue.

If anything, newfound interest in Twitter is likely only to drive up interest in ESPN commentators and their opinions. This can only result in more traffic to ESPN's website and a firmer grip on dominance as the "worldwide leader in sports."

This is a case of a large company not wanting to be caught by surprise. ESPN will adapt to a new social media world or one of their competitors will and then they will really see chunks of their revenue disappearing.


ESPN regards social networks such as message boards, conversation pages and other forms of social networking such as FacebookFacebook and Twitter as important new forms of content. As such, we expect to hold all talent who participate in social networking to the same standards we hold for interaction with our audiences across TV, radio and our digital platforms. This applies to all ESPN Talent, anchors, play by play, hosts, analysts, commentators, reporters and writers who participate in any form of personal social networking that contain sports related content.

ESPN Digital Media is currently building and testing modules designed to publish Twitter and Facebook entries simultaneously on,, Page 2, ESPN Profile pages and other similar pages across our web site and mobile platforms. The plan is to fully deploy these modules this fall.

Specific Guidelines
* Personal websites and blogs that contain sports content are not permitted
* Prior to engaging in any form of social networking dealing with sports, you must receive permission from the supervisor as appointed by your department head
* ESPN.COM may choose to post sports related social media content
* If opts not to post sports related social media content created by ESPN talent, you are not permitted to report, speculate, discuss or give any opinions on sports related topics or personalities on your personal platforms
* The first and only priority is to serve ESPN sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content
* Assume at all times you are representing ESPN
* If you wouldn’t say it on the air or write it in your column, don’t tweet it
* Exercise discretion, thoughtfulness and respect for your colleagues, business associates and our fans
* Avoid discussing internal policies or detailing how a story or feature was reported, written, edited or produced and discussing stories or features in progress, those that haven’t been posted or produced, interviews you’ve conducted, or any future coverage plans.
* Steer clear of engaging in dialogue that defends your work against those who challenge it and do not engage in media criticism or disparage colleagues or competitors
* Be mindful that all posted content is subject to review in accordance with ESPN’s employee policies and editorial guidelines
* Confidential or proprietary company information or similar information of third parties who have shared such information with ESPN, should not be shared

Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.

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