Policy – Social media
The Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) seeks to encourage information and link-sharing amongst its membership, staff and volunteers, and seeks to utilise the expertise of its members and others in generating appropriate social media content. The purpose of this policy is to outline the College’s expectations of people employed by or representing the College when they are using social media, both in professional and personal capacities.
This policy applies to, and is binding on, all members and people employed by or representing the college in any capacity, including volunteers, employees, contractors and consultants (hereafter called ‘members and staff’) who are employed by, or undertake activities on behalf of, the College.
Social media, with examples including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and blogging (with rapid introduction of new forums), represent a growing form of communication for associations, allowing them to engage their members and the wider public more easily than ever before.
It is important that social media posts are in keeping with the image that ACIPC wishes to present to the public, and posts made through its social media channels should not damage the organisation’s reputation in any way. ACIPC seeks to utilise the expertise of its members and others in generating Informative and appropriate social media content.
Due to the fast-moving nature of social media and the constant development of new social media programs, this policy is to be reviewed at regular intervals.
ACIPC may choose to engage in social media forums including, but not limited to:
ACIPC’s social media use shall be consistent with the following core values:
- Professionalism: ACIPC’s social media represents the organisation as a whole and should seek to maintain a professional and uniform tone. Staff and volunteers may, from time to time and as appropriate, post on behalf of ACIPC using its online profiles, but the impression should remain one of a singular organisation rather than a group of individuals.
- Information sharing: ACIPC encourages the sharing and reposting of online information that is relevant, appropriate to its aims, and of interest to its members. ACIPC should seek to grow its social media base and use this to engage with existing and potential members and stakeholders. At the same time, a professional balance must be struck which avoids placing the organisation’s reputation at risk.
The executive council (EC) shall nominate a representative/committee member (‘nominated representative’) to co-ordinate ACIPCs social media management.
Staff and members may, from time to time and where appropriate, post on behalf of ACIPC using the organisation’s online social media profiles. This is to be done only with the express knowledge and authorisation of the nominated representative.
The EC, with the support of the nominated representative, has ultimate responsibility for:
- ensuring that all posts are in keeping with ACIPC’s Social Media Policy;
- ensuring appropriate and timely action is taken to correct or remove inappropriate posts (including defamatory and/or illegal content) and minimising the risk of a repeat incident;
- ensuring that appropriate and timely action is taken in repairing relations with any persons or organisations offended by an inappropriate post;
- moderating and monitoring public response to social media, such as blog comments and Facebook replies, to ensure that trolling and spamming does not occur;
- removing offensive or inappropriate replies, or cautioning offensive posters;
- responding to any further requests for information generated by the post topic;
- encouraging discussion and information sharing, while maintaining a professional and appropriate online presence.
As social media requires constant monitoring, such responsibilities as outlined above may be delegated by the EC and nominated representative to another appropriate staff member/College member.
Posting to social media:
Before social media posts are made, members and staff should ask themselves the following
- Is the information I am posting, or reposting, likely to be of interest to ACIPC’s members and stakeholders?
- Is the information in keeping with the interests of the organisation and its constituted aims?
- Could the post be construed as an attack on another individual, organisation or project?
- If there is a link attached to the post, does the link work, and have I read the information it links to and judged it to be an appropriate source?
- If reposting information, is the original poster an individual or organisation that ACIPC would be happy to associate itself with?
- Are the tone and the content of the post in keeping with other posts made by ACIPC?
- Does it maintain the organisation’s overall tone?
If you are at all uncertain about whether the post is suitable, do not post it until you have discussed it with the EC or nominated representative.
In the event of a damaging or misleading post being made, the EC and nominated representative should be notified as soon as possible, and the following actions should occur:
- the offending post should be removed;
- where necessary an apology should be issued, either publicly, or to the individual or organisation involved;
- the origin of the offending post should be explored and steps taken to prevent a similar incident occurring in the future;
- if the offending post seems set to grow, or to cause significant damage to the organisational
reputation, refer to the media relations policy.
Moderating social media
Maintaining a safe and friendly environment for our members on social media platforms is important to ACIPC’s reputation. Unfortunately, sometimes social media forums are hijacked by trolls or spammers, or attract people who attack other posters or the organisation aggressively. In order to maintain a pleasant, safe environment for everybody, these posts need to be moderated.
Freedom of speech is to be encouraged, but if posts contain one or more of the following, it is time to act:
- excessive or inappropriate use of swearing;
- defamatory, slanderous or aggressive attacks on ACIPC, other individuals, organisations, projects or public figures;
- breach of copyrighted material not within reasonable use, in the public domain, or available under Creative Commons license;
- breach of data protection or privacy laws;
- repetitive advertisements;
- topics which fall outside the realms of interest to members and stakeholders, and which do not appear to be within the context of a legitimate discussion or enquiry.
If a post appears only once:
- remove the post as soon as possible;
- if possible/appropriate, contact the poster privately to explain why you have removed the post and highlighting ACIPC’s posting guidelines.
If a poster continues to post inappropriate content, or if the post can be considered spam:
- remove the post as soon as possible;
- ban or block the poster to prevent them from posting again.
Banning and blocking should be used as a last resort only, and only when it is clear that the poster intends to continue to contribute inappropriate content. However, if that is the case, action must be taken swiftly to maintain the welfare of other social media users.
The decision to block, ban and remove posts ultimately lies with the EC and nominated representative, but may, at their discretion, be delegated to responsible staff and volunteers.