Social Media (TOS) Terms of Service Reference Guidelines & Best Practices


SM logo together

Social media platforms are like any other organization or business. Like all businesses they too have Terms of Service (TOS) agreement for users.

Failure to comply with a platform’s TOS will lead to restrictions imposed on users.  You run the risk of having your account suspended or worst terminated.  Social media platforms are often aware of offenders not just by algorithms but by community users’ report (SNHU).

It’s imperative that you read each platforms TOS and comply with their terms.

According to SNHU social TOS includes two types of rules:

  • General laws regulating copyrights or intellectual property infringement
  • Community’s etiquette that identify good and bad manners of users.

Flickr is an example of a community that prohibits the use of other people’s content, “do not upload anything that is not yours.”

However, in the case of copyright infringement Flickr offers best practices, “this probably just a misunderstanding and not malicious, a good first step is to contact them via FlickrMail and politely ask them to remove them.”

To learn more about Flickr’s community guidelines go to:

Etiquette compliance for Twitter includes restrictions on impersonation. Portraying another person on-line in terms of “the user shares your name but has no other commonalities or the profile clearly states it is not affiliated with or connected to any similarly-named individuals” will lead to Twitter terminating your account.   

To learn more about Twitter use of parody, commentary, and fan account policy and the right to expression go here.

Foursquare registration and eligibility has strict rules to use their service.

Users have to be totally transparent and maintain and, “keep your registration information accurate and up-to-date.”  Otherwise it might lead to termination of your account.  4sq also has a photo best practices that includes: Lighting and Framing, Originality, Keep it appropriate, be respective, be yourself.  To learn more about 4sq user photo submission click here.

TOS are subjected to changes, visit TOS sites regularly to stay informed.

With every new piece of technology being added platforms such as Linkedin’s recent announcement to incorporate SlideShare and Pulse to their platform leads to Linkedin“Updating LinkedIn’s Terms of Services.

YouTube community Guidelines stresses respect for the community..  YouTube warns not to  upload pornography, animal abuse, drug abuse, underage drinking and smoking, or bomb making.  Nothing graphic of physical hurt, attacks or humiliation, no gross videos.

YouTube supports a community of having fun and sharing lots of amazing stuff and letting people know what you think.  YouTube acknowledges that not every content will be agreeable, either not liking what you see but if you see it violates the terms of agreement Report it.


Work Cited

Flickr. (2014).  TOS Guidelines.  Retrieved from

Foursquare. (2014).  TOS Photo.  Retrieved from

LinkedIn. (2014).   Updating LinkedIn’s Terms of Services.  Retrieved from

SNHU.  (2014).  Module Eight:  Social Media Marketing Rules of Engagement and Terms of Service.  MKT  666.  Southern New Hampshire University. Professor Damsen class

Twitter. (2014).  Parody, Commentary and Fan Account Policy.  Retrieved from

YouTube (2014) Community Guidelines.  Retrieved from