BBC Home > BBC News > England

Council Twitter users face rebuke

28 January 10 19:09 GMT

Councillors in Cornwall could face being reported to the authority's standards committee for using social networking sites.

It follows claims that a number of councillors used Twitter during a meeting and mocked other members.

If a councillor is found to breach the code of conduct for inappropriate comments, they could be suspended.

Cornwall Council has not received any complaints but said any allegations reported to them would be investigated.

'Naughty boy'

One councillor who read the tweets said that he did not think that they were inappropriate.

Tweets sent included: "naughty boy!", "high level of accidental sexual innuendo in the council today", "she said phones must be switched off. (I love that we're completely ignoring that instruction)" and "chairman indirectly instructs us not to tweet from the meeting. Whoops!"

The tweets were sent during a meeting into councillors' allowances and housing.

County councillor Alex Folkes, said: "I read back over the tweets that were sent by councillors during the meeting.

"I can't see anything that was inappropriate. Each of us has to take responsibility for what we send as tweets to make sure that they are appropriate and they are not distracting us from the debate."

The council said in a statement: "Employees or councillors using social networking sites to send inappropriate messages could be referred to the standards committee."

It added that it was currently developing a social media policy to cover the use of social media sites such as facebook, Myspace, Twitter and YouTube.

As well as the draft policy recognising the "potential" for using social networking tools to communicate and engage with the public, the council said it would also highlight the importance of regulating the use of such sites to ensure it did not adversely affect its reputation.

Related BBC sites