Hey, BBC, maybe don’t make fun of deaf people…even if they are Members of Parliament

Two weeks ago, during a debate in Parliament, the BBC Newsbeat Twitter account sent out this tweet:

Alec Shelbrooke

Yup, that looks pretty bad: It looks like Shelbrooke is taking a nice nap.

Here’s the thing: MP Shelbrooke was, in fact, wide awake.  He is partially deaf, and listening to the speakers in order to follow the debate.  So, the BBC just made fun of a deaf man who was trying to do his job.  Nicely done there, guys.

To their credit, the BBC apologized for the tweet:

Naturally, not everyone was particularly forgiving:

It’s not as if the BBC – or anyone – should have to fact check every possible angle of a social media before sending it out.  That’s not possible, and it will delay all tweets sent by an unacceptably long length.  That being said, it does go to show the importance of having informed people run your social media accounts, as someone who was more knowledgeable about British politics would likely have known that Shelbrooke was partially deaf and prevented the tweet from being sent in the first place.  Let this be a lesson to you in your social media strategy: Ensure that the people operating your social media know what they are doing and what they are talking about.

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