Social media can be a fantastic way to stay connected and a great way to build your personal brand, highlight causes you’re passionate about and positively engage with your fans.
We consider social media an extension of a player’s workplace. As a footballer, you are subject to FA regulations, including using social media carefully to avoid breaching league rules for yourself and your club. This means you risk a ban, fine or even dismissal if you knowingly or recklessly do, write or say anything that is likely to bring your club or the game of football into disrepute.
Despite your best intentions, anything you post online becomes part of the public domain, which means there is room for speculation, misreporting and misinterpretation. You should therefore treat every social media post like a comment given to the press, and be wary of how any perceived endorsement or criticisms might come across.
THE POSITIVES & NEGATIVES
Things to Remember
To make sure you're complying with regulations, you should:
- think about the implications of the content and replies you post
- make sure your posts aren't indecent, threatening or abusive
- remember private messages are often leaked
- understand social media posts can fall foul of the law
- be careful not to share confidential information
- check the accuracy of anything you post
- avoid posting in the heat of the moment
Social media platforms are also rife with people who target professional footballers with abuse. These individuals will often say extreme things to bait you into a response, which can affect your wellbeing. The PFA is committed to holding social media networks to account and will continue to demand a safer space for players.
We've been engaging with the UK Government, police and football authorities to help tackle this issue. This includes investing in AI research and monitoring, and pushing for perpetrators to face real-life consequences for online abuse.
We also understand the impact online abuse can have on your wellbeing. In 2021, we launched a dedicated helpline 0800 368 8484 for players affected by any kind of abuse on or offline. We've also created a guide to help players learn how to improve their experience while using social media.
Download our social media guidelines: thepfa.com/social-media-guidelines