SPOT ON: Why GDS’s Social Media House Rules rule


For three years I was the sole voice of the council’s Twitter and for five years drew-up its social media strategy and tactics.

We started with one account and when I left there were more than 70 many of which I was really proud of.

There were many things I learned along the way. One that stands out is setting out how you’ll use social media and how you expect others to use it. In other words, ‘Play nice. We’ll talk to you so long as you don’t swear, okay?’ This is only what front counter staff have pinned up and most of the time we never needed it.

I noticed these social media house rules from GDS. They’ve been around for a while but I’ve not seen them before. You can see the original here.

Why they are great

They set out what’s covered, what they’ll do, when they’ll do it, what they can’t do, what they won’t tolerate and what they expect of you. So, if someone shouts and swears they can point at these and show them the red card. Or a user can tweet them and know roughly what to expect.

I’m sure GDS won’t mind if you cut and paste but you’ll need to tweak them a little for your organisation.

The social media team at GDS are responsible for several different social media accounts on a variety of platforms.

We’re happy to help you in any way that we can and look forward to seeing your views and feedback. We do however expect our users to offer us the same level of courtesy that we offer them, so we have a short set of house rules:

  1. All users must comply with the social media platform’s Terms of Use as well as these Terms of Use.
  2. We will remove, in whole or in part, posts that we feel are inappropriate.
  3. We will report and remove any social media profiles that are set up using GOV.UK imagery, including fonts, without permission.
  4. We will block and/or report users on Twitter who direct tweets at us which we believe are:
    1. Abusive or obscene
    2. Deceptive or misleading
    3. In violation of any intellectual property rights
    4. In violation of any law or regulation
    5. Spam (persistent negative and/or abusive tweeting in which the aim is to provoke a response)
  5. You are wholly responsible for any content you post including content that you choose to share.

Anyone repeatedly engaging with us using content or language which falls into the above categories will be blocked and/or reported to the associated social media platform.

Responding to users:

  1. We’ll do our best to respond to your enquiries within four working hours.
  2. We’ll try to help you, or direct you to people and/or departments who can, wherever possible.
  3. Our working hours are 9.00 – 17.00 Monday to Friday. We’ll deal with enquiries sent outside of this time as soon as possible when working hours resume.
  4. The @GOVUK twitter account is here to provide information and support for users of the GOV.UK website.
  5. The @GOVUK Twitter account is not a political account and cannot respond to political tweets.

We do not respond to tweets of a commercial nature

Whilst we are happy to receive such material, we will not respond as we are governed by strict procurement rules. You can keep up to date on our procurement platform, Digital Marketplace by visiting or by contacting

We reserve the right to modify or change these conditions at any time.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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