These guidelines are aimed at explaining the approach of the PPS when considering cases where it is alleged that criminal offences have been committed by the sending of an electronic communication, including communications sent via social media.
Electronic communications include calls and text messages sent by means of the telephone network, posts on internet discussion forums, streaming of video using the internet and YouTube and other messages sent by or on social media platforms. Social media in this document refers to social networks accessible on the internet which can be used for social interaction between users and the instant sending of messages either to chosen recipients or worldwide, depending on the selection of privacy settings by the sender. Current examples of social network applications include Facebook/Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Google+. There are many others and the list is changing rapidly as new applications are being created and others lose their appeal.