Social Media and Online Abuse

Social media has become a powerful tool for councillors, helping them to engage with communities, raise awareness of community issues, events, or council initiatives and to seek views and receive feedback. Social media however has its darker side; online abuse and bullying or ‘trolling’ has reached record levels and politicians, particularly women, are often the target of unacceptable, unpleasant and, sometimes, threatening online abuse.


The WLGA has also developed other guides for councillors:


Councillors Guide to Handling Intimidation -  Open link here

Personal Safety for Councillors - Open link here


The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) has produced the guides below for members to help them navigate the challenges and stay safe online:



The WLGA, LGA, COSLA and NILGA has developed ‘rules of engagement’ infographics that candidates and councillors can pin to their social media profile to outline the ways in which they intend to engage with people online. These rules are designed to give all users a clear ‘code’ by which they should operate, with a clear statement that users can be blocked, or posts deleted, if they fail to participate in a civil manner.

Open link here


A Handling online abuse infographic has also been developed to give councillors a quick reference guide to help them to understand the steps they can take to protect themselves online, how to respond to abusive messages, and encourages councillors to seek support where needed.

Open link here

Councillors Guide - Handling online Abuse (2020)

This guide provides advice on how to manage or report online abuse or harassment and points you in the direction of online resources which will guide you through the process of blocking, unfriending, muting, hiding or reporting online posts.

Open link here

Improving digital citizenship: A practical guide for councillors (August 2021)

Social media has become an important public space, where councillors share political information and engage with other councillors, support officers and residents. But it also opens the door for abuse, harassment and intimidation, along with the spread of misinformation. This guide provides practical advice and resources for councillors as they continue to navigate this space.

Open link here

Improving digital citizenship: Research and good practice (August 2021)

Online harassment, intimidation and abuse, and the spread of mis and disinformation, are now major challenges to local democracy. This guide outlines research in relation to councillors and digital citizenship, and looks at the good work going on in the UK and abroad.

Open link here

Social Media - A Guide for Councillors (2018)

This guide is for councillors who would like to use social media as a tool to share information, open new dialogues with the people in their community and beyond, and engage their electorate in productive two-way conversation.

Open link here

For more information contact: WLGA Improvement Team





The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) represents the interests of local government and promotes local democracy in Wales.

Tel : 02920 468680
Mail :
Business Hours : Mon - Thurs 8:30 - 5:00, Fri - 08:30 - 16:30