Media Council of Bermuda
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Media Council Statements

Social Media use

Several times over the past few months members of the public have posted to their social media platforms and had a story about it appear in one or more news media in Bermuda and/or overseas news agencies.

The Media Council of Bermuda would like to remind residents that anything appearing on some platforms is completely public and thus can be used by the news media.

Don Burgess, executive officer Media Council of Bermuda, said, “There is a misconception that what people post on social media is private and can’t be used by the news media. Most people have not read the full terms of service from the various social media sites.

“In addition, most people are posting publicly. There can be no reasonable expectation of privacy when you post to a Facebook group or push out a tweet and hashtag a well-known celebrity in it. The news media don’t have to ask you permission to use what you posted as it is already in the public domain.

“The Terms of Service of most social media platforms do allow you to retain rights to the content you create, but it also stipulates that it can be used by the media.”

Mr Burgess referenced Twitter’s TOS as an example:

“This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals for the syndication, broadcast, distribution, promotion or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use. Such additional uses by Twitter, or other companies, organizations or individuals, may be made with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.”

He added anything posted to your own personal Facebook page, which has restricted privacy settings, is generally safe. However, if you have not restricted the privacy settings, you are leaving yourself open to having your information used.

“Private citizens generally are given more leeway than Bermudian public figures, which include but not limited to politicians, entertainers, sports figures and business people. Mr Burgess said. “But even private citizens should be wary of having your ‘friends’ from taking a screenshot of what you posted and passed it around.”

If you feel like something has been poached from a private social media account, please go to to see the Media Council’s Code of Practice and download a complaint form. You may also email Mr Burgess at

Don Burgess