Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations

Social media

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The internet, and especially social media, have become essential communication and marketing tools for not-for-profit community organisations. They can be a great way for your organisation to promote its cause and services, and to communicate with your community cheaply and quickly.

However, there are risks involved with social media use - especially because of the speed with which information travels on the internet, its global reach, and the lack of control that your organisation has once something goes online.

What is social media?

‘Social media' usually means a website, mobile application or technology that allows users to share and communicate information (‘content') online - either privately or publicly.

Examples of social media include:

  • social networking sites (such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn)
  • blogs
  • information sources (such as wikis)
  • video-sharing sites (such as YouTube)
  • photo-sharing sites (such as Flickr and Instagram), and 
  • other sites with user generated content elements (such as news sites which invite customers to post reviews)

There are a range of legal issues your organisation should know about in using different types of social media.

What are the legal issues?

We have published a fact sheet on social media (below) that deals with particular areas of concern for community organisations regarding the use of social media. The guide assumes some knowledge of intellectual property laws (including laws on copyright and trade marks). If you would like to read more about these laws, we recommend you read our guide to intellectual property laws.

Social media and your organisation

Social media can impact your organisation in many ways. The fact sheet below outlines some key issues for community organisations, and strategies for reducing risk. 

This fact sheet includes information about:

  • the most common forms of social media, Facebook and Twitter
  • the risks to your organisation involved with social media use, and
  • steps you can take to minimise risks and maximise benefits of using social media 

Additional resources

Last Updated: 14 September 2021

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