Don't tweet while drunk, report warns MPs

Politicians told to wait 60 seconds before hitting 'send'

MPs have been warned not to tweet while drunk and to always wait 60 seconds before posting messages online in order to avoid political gaffes.

A 5,500-word report submitted to the Speaker of the House of Commons gave representatives a series of tips on how to avoid gaffes on Twitter.

“Because it is so quick and easy to tweet people make mistakes and there have been several high profile examples of political gaffes,” the report warned.

“Twitter can be safer if you apply the 60 second rule and wait one minute before pressing the tweet button.

“As well as following the 60 second rule it’s sensible to never tweet while drunk!”

Other tips include etiquette on when to follow someone back, and a warning not to claim one’s Twitter account has been hacked because “it simply isn’t believed”.

Other advice given to MPs includes:

Don’t constantly retweet praise because it makes you look self-absorbed

Some things might be too “risqué” for an MP to retweet

People can tell when you’re just tweeting the party line

Don’t favourite things to remind you to look at them in case they’re actually embarrassing

Don’t schedule tweets pretending you’re at an event in case you don’t bother going

It’s best to ignore parody accounts to avoid giving them publicity

The tips follow a steady stream of political screw-ups on social media, some of which have provoked popular outrage.

Labour MP Emily Thornberry was sacked from the Shadow Cabinet after she tweeted a photo of a house with an England flag and a white van, even though she produced the photo with no comment.

Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls has also become the subject of regular and playful derision after sending a tweet including only his own name.

The report was released in January and reported by the Sun on Sunday this weekend.

It was produced by The Chartered Institute and was submitted to the Public Relations for the Speaker’s Digital Democracy Commission. Officials say it was produced at no cost to the taxpayer.

Parliamentary officials said: “The report ‘Recommended guidance for the use of Twitter by politicians’ was not commissioned by the Speaker of the House of Commons; it was written evidence submitted to the Digital Democracy Commission on behalf of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). The report was not distributed to MPs or peers.”

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