Honoring Copyright Part 2: Legal Ways to Use Common Social Media Logos

flickr: MikeBlogs

Last week I covered legal ways to use photography on your blog, but there was one important element I left out: how that translates to the use of a company’s logo. If you do a quick “images” search for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube in any search engine, you’ll see pages upon pages of logos, most of which appear to be fine to just download.

But just because you can do a Google search for a logo doesn’t mean it’s okay to take that logo and use it on your website, blog or even in print materials. So how then, are you supposed to know?

The good news is, I’ve done the work for you by summarizing the legal uses of several of the most popular social media platforms below — Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn® and YouTube.



  • Use the phrase “Follow me/us on Twitter” on your blog or website along with the current Twitter logo, Twitter Bird Icon, or one of the Twitter buttons as a link to your account.
  • Download Twitter’s logos and icons in various formats.
  • Capitalize “Twitter” and “Tweet.”
  • Make sure the title of any publication, such as a book or e-book, makes it clear that it’s a book about Twitter, and not by Twitter. For example, “Learning how to ‘X’ on Twitter” is appropriate, whereas “The Twitter guide to ‘X'” is not.


  • Manipulate the logo in any way.
  • Use another person or company’s screen shots or account without their permission.
  • Use the marks in a way that might imply a false sense of partnership or endorsement with your brand.
  • Create your own buttons or marks using the Twitter logo.



  • Use the Facebook Like button in connection with the Like button social plugin.
  • Use the Facebook Like button on print advertising to direct people to your Facebook page or website that has the Like button social plugin integrated.
  • Use the Facebook “f” logo off Facebook to refer to your Facebook page or Facebook group.
  • Use a textual or visual reference to Facebook when using the Like button in traditional offline media.
  • Download the Like button and “f” logo from Facebook’s website to make sure you are using the most updated version.


  • Worry about using either the ® or the ™ attribution symbols with Facebook branding.
  • Use the Like button logo in online advertising.
  • Use the Facebook logo for any purpose. The “f” logo should be used in place of the Facebook logo (yes, you read that right. Never use the actual Facebook logo. It says it in their Brand Resource Center).
  • Hyperlink the “f” logo to Facebook’s log-in page.
  • Modify the “f” logo by changing its design or color.



  • Make sure the name is accompanied by either the ® or ™ symbol.
  • Place the LinkedIn® logo on a white, off-white or black background.
  • Use words in connection with the IN logo to indicate the link to your profile, company or group, provided that: the words displayed next to the IN logo are in a different font and color (in comparison to the IN logo), and preferably in black.
  • Use a standard LinkedIn® screenshot (an image of our homepage or company page or products pages) in either print (book, magazine, journal, newspaper) or digital (web page, DVD, CD) formats for an instructive, educational or illustrative purpose.
  • Download the proper formats of the LinkedIn logo.


  • Place the LinkedIn® logo on a colored background.
  • Alter the logo in any way.
  • Use the company’s logo or trade names with the disclaimer of ownership (not sure what this means).
  • Superimpose graphics, photos, or ad copy on a screenshot or otherwise change the look of a screen-captured image.



  • Make sure the badge is fully and clearly visible.
  • Change a badge’s color as long as the badge content is in one single color.
  • Choose the background on which the badge appears.
  • Ensure that there is sufficient contrast between the badge color and the background color for the badge to be clearly visible.
  • Download the approved formats of the YouTube logo.


  • Incorporate YouTube trademarks into your own trademarks or logos.
  • Remove, obstruct, distort, or alter any element of a YouTube trademark.
  • Modify the YouTube word mark in any way, including hyphenation, combination, abbreviation, or acronym such as: YouTubers, Tubing, Tuber, YT, You-Tube, YouTubed, etc.
  • State or otherwise imply any affiliation with YouTube.
  • Display the badge as the most prominent element on your web page.

The above lists are not exhaustive, so if you are unsure about the proper way to use the logo for any of the above companies, I strongly encourage you to visit their website to make sure you are not violating copyright. However, if you are simply using these logos for your hospital’s website or blog, these do’s and don’ts should be sufficient.

I also recommend that you do research before using any company’s logo, as their guidelines may surprise you.

8 replies
  1. BestPaula
    BestPaula says:

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  2. Phillip Parr
    Phillip Parr says:

    It surprises me how prolific the misuse of these logos are across the internet. It’s almost as if
    designers have completely forgotten that they’re not supposed to rework another company’s brand assets.

  3. brandy
    brandy says:

    I tried to download the Linked In logo to put next to the url on my business card; however, it appears to have been removed or changed. Do you have an updated link to the logo image variations? Thank you in advance for your help!

  4. get more likes on facebook for free
    get more likes on facebook for free says:

    You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.

    It seems too complex and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I will try to get the hang
    of it!

  5. Jared Smith
    Jared Smith says:

    Actually, it’s not as much about copyright law as it is about trademark law… the copyright protects the work, and the trademark law protects the brand marks and logos. Please don’t confuse the two — they’re very different.

    Other than that, I found the advice very applicable and have pointed several people to it.

  6. Mark
    Mark says:

    Please if you get a notification with this I’d advise revising your current knowledge of the copyright’s as there’s been some bad vibes around them in the past few months.

    This information is invalid in several ways and can get people into some trouble, If anyone reads this, just revise the copyright terms and conditions before doing anything in terms of using someone elses content.


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