India’s largest media group has instated a new social media policy that requires journalists to turn over the passwords to their personal social media accounts. Under these new guidelines, publications can post on reporters and editors’ accounts without their knowledge.
Quartz reports that Bennett, Coleman and Company Ltd–publisher of the Times of India, Economic Times, and other properties–gave employees a new contract last week that dictates social media use.
The company shall be the owner of the access passwords, username and associated email address for the User Account, which shall be used by you on behalf of the Company to make posts. Company retains administration rights of the User Account, which shall be made accessible to the Company on demand. It is understood that sharing of such details of the User Account shall be an integral part of your contract with the Company and shall also be necessary for processing any settlement related to termination of such Contract.
Staffers are given the option to create new company-authorized accounts for use on social media sites or to convert existing ones for professional use. Intellectual property for these company accounts will belong solely to the publications, which can continue posting on reporters’ accounts even if they quit.
In addition, journalists are required to disclose all social media accounts they hold and have been warned not to post news links on their personal Twitter or Facebook accounts.
Quartz said internal protests haven’t resulted in change. Staffers were given instructions to sign the new contracts immediately when they were passed out last week.