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NEW YORK (AP) — The Associated Press said Monday that it is launching a review of its social media policies after questions were raised about last week’s firing of one of its journalists who had expressed pro-Palestinian views.
That announcement came hours after more than 100 AP journalists signed a letter expressing concern about how former news associate Emily Wilder was treated. The journalists want more clarity in what can be said on forums like Twitter and Facebook and faith the company would protect them from pressure campaigns.
In a memo to staff members on Monday, the AP’s news leaders asked for volunteers to suggest changes to social media guidelines, with the idea of a committee bringing forth recommendations by September.
“One of the issues brought forward in recent days is the belief that restrictions on social media prevent you from being your true self, and that this disproportionately harms journalists of color, LGBTQ journalists and others who often feel attacked online,” the memo said. “We need to dive into this issue.”
Wilder, a 22-year-old who had worked a little over two weeks covering news in the Western U.S. from Phoenix, was fired after the AP said she violated social media rules. The rules compel staff members not to express opinions on controversial issues for fear of damaging the AP’s reputation for objectivity and jeopardize its many reporters around the world.
During that time, a young Republicans’ group from Stanford University raised concerns about Wilder’s advocacy as a student there. Wilder, who