ITN’s former chief executive John Hardie will lead the independent review into the BBC’s social media guidance for freelancers following the impartiality row with Gary Lineker.

The BBC said the review will start immediately and it is expected to be completed by the summer, with any changes to then be published.

It comes after Lineker was taken off air by the BBC after posting a tweet in which he said the language used by the Government to promote its asylum plans was not dissimilar to 1930s Germany.

He later returned to his Match Of The Day presenting role following a boycott by top on-air talent.

BBC director-general Tim Davie, a former Conservative council candidate, said “grey areas” in the broadcaster’s social media guidance could cause “confusion” and announced an independent review of the guidelines, particularly for freelancers.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon slams BBC's 'indefensible' move to take Gary Lineker off air

In a statement on Friday, Davie said: “The BBC has important commitments to both impartiality and to freedom of expression. We also have a commitment to those working with us, and for us, to be clear in what we expect from them.

“The social media guidance is crucial to achieving this, particularly in a fast-paced, ever-changing world of digital media.

“This review will ensure this guidance is clear, proportionate and appropriate – now and in the future.”

During the review, Hardie will look at the broadcaster’s guidance covering “individual use of social media”, which was first published in October 2020, for those working as “on-air freelancers outside of news, current affairs and factual journalism”.