STOP ABUSE: Here’s a free set of social media House Rules for you

Of the five sessions from the new workshop I’m running online one was most fun to put together and deliver.

That’s the final one which looks at when to engage and how to deal with online comment, criticism and abuse. You can see more about that session and the wider programme here.

I’ve always been a firm believer in teaching both the theory and the lived experience.

It’s fine showing people what channels and what content works. But what happens when people shout?

For me, comment is fine. Criticism is also fine so long as its not abusive and abuse is never fine.

We should not tolerate it.

But if we say we don’t tolerate it we need to set that out in black and white.

For me, that starts with a set of social media House Rules that say this is what you can expect of us online and here’s what we expect of you. Without those House Rules how do you take action with confidence?

Here’s a set of boilerplate House Rules for you.

Feel free to adapt.

INSERT ORG’S NAME social media House Rules v1.0


We believe that social media is an important part in how people live their lives.


At INSERT ORG NAME we’re adaptable and continually changing how we improve the way we work. We pride ourselves in being open. 


We’ve a set of house rules on how we use social media and how we expect people to use it too.


What we’ll do…


We’ll confirm its us. If you see a INSERT ORG’S NAME account online you can check its us. We’ll list our social media accounts on our website here INSERT LINK. 


We’ll listen. We’ll read all messages and look to flag-up problems with the most relevant part of the organisation. We’re keen to hear from you. 


We’ll say when we’ll monitor each account. We’ll not be online 24-hours a day. But we will say when we’ll be online on each social media account we use.


We’ll be human and polite. We’ll treat each message with the politeness you’d expect if you were dealing with us face-to-face or on the telephone.  


We’ll follow people where we can. But this doesn’t mean endorsement.  

What we’d like you to do in return…


We’d like you to be polite. We know that sometimes things don’t go to plan and you’ll want to flag things up with us. But do remember, we’re human and the person monitoring the social media account is only trying to help. So are other people who use social media.


We’d like you not be anti-social. We won’t tolerate swearing, threats or abuse online just as we don’t offline. We won’t deal with your query on social media. We’ll direct you to other channels instead. 


We’d like you not to be personal. If you’ve a complaint to make against an individual we’ll look into it. We’ll point you towards our complaints page INSERT LINK.  


We’d like you not to spam or advertise. Our social media channels aren’t the place for followers to advertise. Making the same points over and over – otherwise known as spamming – isn’t for our social media. You’ll be better off making a complaint or contacting us another way so we can look into the issue for you. 


We’d like you to not over-share. If you’ve got an issue we’ll happily look into it. But be careful not to post private information about yourself or others.

We’d like you not to spread disinformation or misinformation. That includes anti-vaxx, QAnon and other tropes. We are committed to ensuring clear public health messaging.


Of course, most of the time social media works fine but on the rare occasion where you don’t stick to the house rules we reserve the right to delete offending content and block you from contacting us through that route. We also reserve the right to contact police.


If you have any questions about our social media or feel a post may be taken down unfairly email us at INSERT EMAIL ADDRESS.

You can download here:

You can find out more about the programme I deliver ESSENTIAL COMMS BOOSTER SKILLS online here. There are sessions starting in the coming weeks.

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