The Robot Reporter

Hello. If you’re visiting this post, you’ve probably spotted @theroboreporter on Twitter. Or maybe it retweeted you, and you’ve asked why, or asked it to delete a tweet.

In any case, here’s what you need to know: @theroboreporter isn’t a person, it’s software. Here’s what it does:

1) Journalists all around the world scour Twitter for images they want to republish.

2) When they find one, they tweet to the person who posted it, asking for permission.

3) @theroboreporter publishes a link to the original tweet.

This only happens if the original tweet is public, and @theroboreporter only links to the original tweet. It does not copy, duplicate or reproduce the tweet’s content – text or images. If you see your text and image under the @theroboreporter’s name, that’s because Twitter is showing your original tweet there.

How to remove something you tweeted

If you delete your tweet or any associated images or video, the tweet from @theroboreporter will remain, but anyone clicking the link in it won’t see anything. So, if you’ve tweeted something that you regret making public, deleting that tweet will allow you to remove it immediately.

How to remove something that someone else tweeted

Like any software, this program is only as smart as the information entered into it – in this case, via Twitter, so errors can occur.

In general, I will remove links to anything that:

1) Is illegal in the UK, or

2) Contravenes any of the NUJ’s ethical guidelines

To request the removal of a link, please contact me at @tomroyal.

Occasionally, when breaking news events result in the publication of floods of images in violation of the rules above, I shut the whole thing down for a time. When this happens you’ll see a note in the feed.

Why are you doing this?

Because I’m interested in breaking news, how people report it, and how technology both influences and is influenced by newsgathering. And also I like robots.