The Electoral Commission has said that charities must record when their employees use social media to campaign or comment on political issues to ensure posts comply with lobbying laws.
The commission says social media activity, particularly relating to political campaigns could “reasonably be regarded as intended to influence voters” to vote in a particular way at a local or general election. Therefore, it argues the costs incurred in creating and distributing social media should be accounted for by the charities themselves.
Under the lobbying bill, charities that spend over £20,000 a year in England, or over £10,000 anywhere else in the UK, are required to register with the Electoral Commission.
Speaking to RT, a spokesperson said: “This is not about counting the number of tweets that are posted or whether followers are being asked to share tweets or Facebook posts about a campaign. The assessment is about the time spent by a member of staff working on regulated campaign activities.
“If charities are planning a large scale, multi media campaign ahead of the election, that can reasonably be regarded as intended to influence voters; then it’s likely that the costs of running that campaign via social media including a reasonable assessment of staff time producing content, will need to be accounted for.”
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