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August 8, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 8:11am

Grazia digital editor slams Mail Online for ‘ripping’ story and using her pic without asking

By James Walker

The digital editor of Grazia has hit out at Mail Online for using her Twitter profile picture in a story without permission or payment.

Rebecca Reid criticised the news website for “trying to pretend that they’re allowed to use photos taken from people’s social media”.

The journalist also accused Mail Online of “ripping” her article about online supermarket Ocado showing customers low calorie alternatives at checkout, without linking back to her piece in Grazia.

Mail Online has said it is free to publish content that has been shared publicly on social media and does not require the owner’s consent to do so.

The journalist who wrote the story is also understood to have added a link back to the Grazia article once aware Reid’s comments were drawn from it.

Reid described Ocado’s new checkout policy as “irresponsible” and “triggering” to those who struggled with eating disorders.

The journalist who has written for Metro, which is also owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust, made further comments criticising Ocado on Twitter.

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Mail Online reported her social media comments in a story describing her as “journalist Rebecca Reid, from London” and used her Twitter profile picture and tweets to illustrate it.

Reid tweeted in reply: “My Ocado story has made the @DailyMailUK who a) used my photo without permission b) don’t mention that I wrote about it for Grazia, and c) obviously didn’t have the courtesy to put in a link.”

She directed a later tweet at the journalist who had written the Mail Online story, saying: “I know story ripping is standard but come on, have the decency to link to the story you nicked it from.”

Reid also said she was “going for £100” from the online news website for its use of her profile picture.

In an email to Reid, which she shared on Twitter, Mail Online’s senior editorial compliance officer responded to her request saying: “It may help to know that if you post on social media you are considered to have published the content or photo and other publishers are free to publish it without first seeking consent.

“This is because the original poster is considered to have published the image or post into the public domain. We note the photo appears as your social media page profile image and as such is public and discoverable.

“Unfortunately, we are not bound to pay you merely because we have not first sought permission to use your profile photo.”

It has now added links to one of her tweets about Ocado and the Grazia comment piece criticising the retailer’s calorie swap suggestion tool.

At the time of writing, Reid’s Twitter profile picture is still included in the Mail Online article.

Press Gazette has contacted Reid for further comment.

A guide on journalism and social media written by press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation claims journalists “are normally allowed to publish photos, comments and information from social media profiles, forums or blogs if there are no privacy settings protecting them and they do not show anything private”.

But, addressing concerns about copyright breaches, it adds: “Copyright is a legal issue which relates to the publishing of a photo by someone else (such as a newspaper or magazine) without the permission of the owner of the photo.

“We cannot help with or advise on legal issues. If you are concerned about
copyright issues, you should seek legal advice.”

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