Online discussion rules
The following rules apply to all Scottish Parliament social media accounts, online forums, and any digital engagement tools we use.
In addition to our rules, remember that all social media platforms and websites have their own terms of service, too.
We want our online channels to be a space where everyone, regardless of personal circumstances or political persuasion, feels comfortable and is able to participate. We want to create an environment that is:
And encourages you to share your views, and to listen to those of others.
We always welcome debate, but it is important to remain respectful to other commenters. Focus on sharing and discussing your views rather than on personal remarks. You can help us foster this kind of positive space by following the rules.
Remember, all our social media platforms are open to the public – that means your comments are public, too! They can be seen by anyone, so think before you post.
Be kind – if you have a criticism, think how you would say it in person, and think about how to convey your tone (how the comment sounds and how it might come across). It is possible to have a robust disagreement and still be respectful.
When engaging with the Parliament and other people, please:
- ensure you’ve read and understood all our discussion rules first
- keep your contributions relevant to the discussion topic
- if you are under the age of 12, get your parent/guardian’s permission before taking part. Users without this consent are not allowed to participate
Please do not:
- make contributions that are unlawful, inflammatory, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, profane, sexual or racist
- make contributions that are offensive to others with regards to religion or belief, gender, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, nationality or other personal (protected) characteristics
- spam or resubmit the same, or similar, contributions
- make defamatory contributions (untrue and capable of damaging the reputation of a person or organisation)
- condone illegal activity or incite people to commit any crime, including incitement of hatred
- make contributions that could prejudice ongoing or forthcoming court proceedings (contempt of court) or break a court injunction
- use these channels for campaigning. This includes posting on behalf of an organisation, group, or social media account
- make contributions containing someone else’s copyright material
- make contributions containing personal information that could identify people without their permission (last names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, usernames, etc)
- impersonate other people or falsely claim to represent a person or organisation
- advertise or promote products or services
- make contributions containing false news designed to spread misinformation, or manipulated images/videos designed to mislead
How we moderate comments
We actively moderate our channels. We reserve the right to take action where we consider contributions to be in breach of these rules. Actions can include:
- hiding your comment
- deleting your comment
- reporting your comment to a platform for breaking its community standards
- banning commenters from our channel on a temporary basis
- permanently banning commenters from our channel
- reporting your comment to law enforcement bodies
Whilst we appreciate that the use of language, and how this is perceived by others, is subjective, we take a hard line on offensive content that includes hate speech. This is to safeguard a friendly and open environment, and promote a culture of mutual respect.
In line with the principles underlying the National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland (2014), published by the Scottish Government, our staff may report a concern to the relevant authorities if they come across an issue in the course of their work which causes them to think that a child may be at risk of abuse or harm.
Using your comments for committee evidence
If you make a contribution to us in response to a call for evidence, it's likely to be published and available to the public online along with your name, and possibly archived for permanent preservation.
To find out more about how we will treat your comments for committee evidence, please read our privacy notice on submitting your views to a committee.
Processing your data
The Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body (SPCB) is a data controller for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 2018, and the General Data Protection Regulation. The SPCB processes personal data according to the requirements of the 2018 Act and the GDPR.
Full details about the privacy and protection of your data can be found in our Data Protection policy and our Privacy Statement.