Social Media For Broadcast FAQ

Using YouTube Videos for Broadcast

Question: Where can broadcasters find what’s trending on YouTube?

Answer:  You can find the most popular videos by browsing  You can narrow them by date and category.  You can also take a look at what’s topping the YouTube Charts at  YouTube also has a link for its trending videos on

Question:  Can a news organization re-broadcast YouTube videos within their newscast?

Answer:  As long as the news organization using the content credits the content owner.  YouTube has a license to distribute the video, however, the creator owns the content.  The media should reach out to users directly, asking for permission to use the video within a newscast.  Additionally, the media should provide attribution by displaying the username or the real name of the individual, if it’s available.

The media should also credit YouTube in its re-broadcast of the video.  YouTube asks that any news station using its video provide both on-screen and verbal attribution.  YouTube has even made an official YouTube logo available for download for this purpose.

YouTube has set up an easy-to-follow, step-by-step procedure on how to contact a YouTube user.

Question:  What if the media reaches out to someone for permission to use their video and never hears back?

Answer:  YouTube encourages the media to contact the person who posted the video.  In the event you don’t hear back from the person, your newsroom social media policy should help guide you through this decision.  (If your newsroom does not have a social media policy, you should talk to your news director.)

Use of Tweets in Broadcast

Question:  Are there any rules regarding the use of tweets for broadcast purposes?

Answer: To broadcast a graphic display of Tweets, @usernames, or hashtags, media is required to display the Twitter bird  There are very specific guidelines as to how close the logo must appear to the Tweet and the duration in which it must appear.   Additionally, the media must:

  • Include the Twitter handle (@username) and the user’s name with each of their Tweets.
  • Not edit or revise the Tweet.  Tweet text may only be revised due to technical or medium limitations. (e.g., removing hyperlinks).
  • Make sure that the Twitter logo or bird icon is a reasonable size in relation to the content. A little taller than a single line of text is a good guideline.

Twitter does allow the media to obscure a name, allowing a Tweet to be anonymous only in exceptional cases such as concerns over user privacy.

Question:  Do the same rules apply for the use of an image posted in a Tweet?

Answer:  Yes.  The Twitter bird should be displayed.  Twitter provides several examples of the scale that should be used when using pictures in a broadcast.  The Tweet which accompanied the image must be shown as well, to include the user’s name and @username.  (It can be shown as a caption.)  Under no circumstances should an image be altered for broadcast.

Question:  What is the proper attribution for Tweets that are read, but not shown on air?

Answer:  When reading Tweets on air, Twitter requires the media to verbally attribute it to Twitter.  Further, the Tweets must be read as originally written, without any deviation from the Tweet content.  Also, if you are telling viewers to follow you, you are required to mention Twitter.  For example, “Follow us on Twitter, at “your organization.”  The same rule applies to the mention of hashtags.  When mentioning them you should say, “Use the hashtag ‘hurricane sandy’ on Twitter.”

Twitter provides plenty of examples of how to properly source and use Twitter within a broadcast.  It even provides some tips on how to most effectively use Twitter in a newscast.

Broadcasting Images and Posts From Facebook

Question:  Are there any guidelines for referencing Facebook within a newscast?

Answer:  When broadcasters invite their audience to like their Page, they should say, “like our Page” or “become a fan by clicking the Like icon on our Page.”  Audience members should not be invited to become a “friend” of the Page.  Users can only become friends with other users.

Question:  Like YouTube, does Facebook require the media to ask a user to broadcast a picture or a post on their Page?

Answer:  Facebook does require permission to use a standard, unaltered screenshot.  Facebook developed a Permission Request Form for the media.  Facebook also notes that screenshots must be unaltered when used for broadcast or print media.  Further, screenshots with any personally identifiable information such as photos, names, etc., require written consent from the individual before they can be published or broadcast.  Screenshots of any Facebook profile also require written consent from its creator.


Facebook. (2012, November 14).  Brand Permissions Center. [Usage Guidelines].  Retrieved from

Twitter. (2012).  Guidelines for use of Tweets in broadcast.  [Twitter Help Center].  Retrieved from

YouTube. (2012, November 14).  General format.  Retrieved from


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