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Social Media and Scouting

The use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube make it possible to communicate almost instantly around the world. Although using social media is not a Scouting activity, their use to connect with others interested in Scouting can be a very positive experience. But the creation and maintenance of these channels requires forethought, care, and responsibility. For that reason, the Boy Scouts of America has developed these guidelines to help you navigate the use of social media channels.

Unit Website Guidelines

We've long recognized that unit sites created by individuals at the unit-level of Scouting are essentially personal, and therefore beyond the National Council’s control or liability. We do offer advisory guidelines to those who would publish Scouting-related sites on their own responsibility, and we urge local councils to take the same approach. These guidelines are established to help avoid several common mistakes.

Protection of personal information pertaining to our youth members and volunteers should be our greatest concern. This organization has used COPPA, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) as our standard in this area. You can get the details on compliance at *. It would be a good practice to share them with unit level publishers in your council.

A second concern about individual unit sites is copyright infringement. Sadly, these days, photos, music and video are commonly re-used on the web without permission. Plagiarism is also common. Such practices violate the ethics of Scouting. They are also violations of law, and could expose the publishers legally.

Our third concern is commercialism. We don't allow ads in council sites. We recognize that "free" web services often used to create unit-level sites may contain advertising. This practice may reflect poorly on the Scouting brand, and should be avoided. A more serious concern would be sites that engage in any find-raising activities not previously approved by their local council. Any independent sales, solicitation OR collection of donations is prohibited by our by-laws and charter agreements.

  • The content of the unit site must be appropriate to the Scouting movement.
  • The unit site cannot link to any sites that contain material that is not appropriate to the Scouting movement.
  • The unit site should not contain any advertisements or commercial endorsements.
  • The unit site cannot engage in the electronic sale of BSA Supply Division merchandise or competing products.
  • The unit site cannot replicate any BSA publication currently for sale through the Supply Division.
  • Unit sites must abide by all laws regarding copyrights, trademarks, and other intellectual property, and by those pertaining to the Internet.
  • Unit sites must consider the safety and privacy of their members and participants by obtaining the necessary permissions to release information about or images of any individual.
  • Unit sites cannot engage in fund-raising except as directly approved by, and under the supervision of, the local council.