NEWS/ARTICLE DETAIL

Council Decision on the Use of Social Media


  AG. HNS, NIESV    |       NIESV    |       09-10-2017

Written by AG. HNS, NIESV

The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers encourages its members to the use of her social media platforms while ensuring that they uphold a sound professional and ethical conduct in consonance with the dictates and the spirit and the intendment of the laws and the statutes governing the profession.

Social media is a platform that gives the member a profile and a voice which includes not only Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Myspace, WhatsApp, Google Plus, Youtube, Webcasts and Blogs. Also any website or public online sites or application, social network, any article, or posting by another, any participation in any forum or community or any publicly accessible written piece will be classified as a social media.

It then becomes pivotal that members access and use these technologies and facilities in an effective, efficient and flexible manner while also ensuring that we balance this with the discharge of our duties to our stakeholders, the public, our legal responsibilities and our reputation in a bid to keep our nobility, integrity, fidelity, dignity honourand quality of service.

As much as social media can help to disseminate information, drive awareness, give publicity, engage members and the public, and provide additional voice for the institution and her members with an array of new audiences. There hasover time been some grievances as to its usage and engagement such as;
Defamation
Integrity risk
Misinformation
Dishonesty and distortion
Public bashing and backlash
Breach of confidentiality
Cyber bulling
Misuse of institution operation

However, this guidance is no way an attempt to silence its members. Healthy debate, sound argument, intellectual engagement and ideological stands without moral turpitude and misdemeanor is encouraged as long as all is done with integrity, positivity and highest level of professionalism.

Members in this context shall include all officers of the institution, registered members and their affiliates

SOCIAL MEDIA CONTENT
1. Inappropriate language shall not be permitted to be used in any form or context on any of the institution social media pages nor to be tagged in any post or comment that carry such.

2. No member shall on the social media or any of its affiliates :

a. Embarrass his/her client, self, firm, institution or others

b. Disclose confidential information publicly

c. Try to hide behind anonymity on any post, comments or tags

d. Misrepresent or exaggerate qualifications in an attempt to misinform the public

e. Insult or disparage the institution, its officers and members (or anyone)

f. Conduct, speak or write improperly implying that which could damage or put the institution, its members and/or its reputation at risk in any form

g. Overlook social media evidence

h. Destroy social media evidence nor to be tagged in any post or comment that carry such.

3. Members shall on the social media or any of its affiliates:

a. Stay current on relevant ethical opinions and decisions

b. Be professional and classy

c. Check conflicts and suggest resolutions

d. Guard client confidentiality i.e., You must not cite or reference your clients, partners, or any other third party without their approval

e. Vet endorsements and recommendations

f. Use appropriate disclaimers

g. Counsel your clients about social media

h. Take advantage of social media as an investigatory and discovery tool.

i. Always provide a means by which you can be contacted in a timely manner ,that is, email and phone number

j. Clearly identify themselves using real name and, if relevant, state your association with the Institution

k. Respect your audience tagged in any post or comment that carry such. But be open, transparent and follow the rules and ethics.

4. Members must act responsibly when posting online, particularly in activity conducted using an Institution e-mail address or which can be traced back to the Institution’s domain or which uses the Institution’s assets. When using the Institution e-mail address or Institution endorsed social media channel (for example LinkedIn discussion groups), all actions are public. Individuals are responsible for their online activities, but note that the Institution may be seen as potentially liable.

5. Your right to privacy and freedom of speech is usually exercised on your personal social networks with your personal e-mail address etc. However, what you publish on such personal online sites must not be attributed to the Institution and must not appear to be endorsed by or originated from the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. If you choose to list your affiliation to the Institution on a social network, then you must regard all communication on that network as you would other professional interactions.

6. Be mindful of the fact that any content that you publish will be in the public domain and in some cases will remain public for a long time. You are personally responsible for any content that you publish. Be aware that your content may provoke a response and be open to the opinions of others.

7. Provide informative content and interesting perspectives. The Institution is best represented by its people. When you decide to contribute to an online media resource you are deciding to be an ambassador for the Institution and even the wider professional community. When you are producing content always consider how your information will improve knowledge, build on ideas and help to solve problems.

8. Be direct, informative and brief. Avoid jargon or ambiguous language. Spell and grammar check everything. Use sentence case format, not capital letters.

9. Always evaluate your contribution’s accuracy and truthfulness. Before posting any online material, ensure as far as possible that the material is correct and appropriate. You must respect copyright, you must be certain not to post material for which you do not own the copyright, or otherwise you must have clear permission to post from the copyright owner. Remember that Institution publications are copyright material.

10. If you make an error, acknowledge this and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. Always include a correction statement to prevent the audience from thinking you have attempted to ‘cover up’ a mistake. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as copyrighted material or a defamatory comment), deal with it quickly – better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action.

11. Privacy settings on social media platforms must be set to allow anyone to see profile information similar to that on the Institution’s website. Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal must be set to limit access.

12. It is permissible to discuss general details of a project if you protect anonymity and ensure you do not violate any nondisclosure agreements. You can mask a colleague's identity for example by saying 'Colleague ABC'.

13. Advice or review should be gotten on subject matters of uncertainty.

14. Members must also remember that they are bound by the Institution's Code of Conduct with special reference to section 16, 17 and 24 of same.

CONFIDENTIALITY
1. Members should be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see. It is acceptable to talk about our work and have a dialogue with the community, but it is not permissible to publish confidential information. This includes things such as:
a. Announcing another member's name, personal details and information.
b. Business performance - this includes: discussing future business plans, unannounced strategies and financial analysis.
c. Revealing any information which is not publicly available.


ENFORCEMENT

This shall serve as providing guidance to those using social media for or on behalf of the Institution. Failure or breach of any of the provisions here by member or users of the social media may lead to a sanction under the Code of Professional Ethics and Practice, and be referred to the Professional Practice Committee of the Institution.
In any case,
1. The Institution has a responsibility to monitor and review all content that is associated with it or posted on its behalf.
2. If the Institution identifies content which is not in line with these guidelines it has a right to either;
a) delete content where it has administration rights on the specific site or
b) demand the removal of content, where content is deleted. A correction notice will be published.

3. The Institution reserves the right to require the closure of any official social media applications or removal of content published by members which may adversely affect the Institution's reputation or put the Institution at risk of legal action.


By Order of Council
For: The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers
ESV. (MAL)BATURE ALI MOHAMMAD, ANIVS
Ag. HNS



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