This Social Media Policy has been produced and agreed by the Club’s Management Committee.

The Club recognises that there is no doubt that social media, including most notably: Facebook and Twitter, can bring substantial benefit to an individual or organisation if managed appropriately. Social media provides an opportunity to promote individuals and groups, communicate key messages, as well as allowing individuals to connect and share ideas at a low cost and to a wide audience. However, if not managed appropriately misuse of social media could well be a public relations nightmare for the Club, and depending on the circumstances, could mean that it would face legal or ‘regulatory’ action.

Remember that social media is an area of public comment, and any person or organisation is liable for any statement it makes in this sphere as if the same statement was being made in the media. Any person or organisation ‘running’ a ‘public’ profile, page or account may well have a number of journalists as followers or friends. As a consequence, any comments, posts, photos, videos, etc. provided on social media sites have to be considered the same as communicating with the press/media.

Any member choosing to set up any social media profiles must get prior permission from the management committee providing the committee with:

  • Information on the purpose of the social media profile page
  • Information on the Club members who will be allowed access to the social media profile page
  • The name and contact details of the administrator/controller (who will be responsible for policing the social media profile page)
  • Reports of any ‘anomalies’ to the Management Committee with confirmation that the social media profile, page will be appropriately ‘locked down’ by using the best security settings that are possible
  • Confirmation that all content of this, the Club’s Social Media Policy, will be adhered to.

Currently here are only four Facebook profiles/pages that have been formally approved by the Management Committee. These are for Senior Rugby, Age Grade and Girls Rugby. We also have the Waterloo Suite page. The club has three official twitter profiles. These are Senior Rugby, Girls Rugby, and Waterloo Suite. We also have one Instagram account for Senior Rugby.

Any member running a Facebook profile/page or a Twitter ‘account’ that has not been formally approved by the Management Committee, or thinks that they have a case for another Facebook profile/page or a Twitter ‘account’ then they should submit a documented case to the Management Committee containing the required information (see previous paragraph), and not go any further until ‘written’ approval is received from the Management Committee. Cases should be emailed to the General Manger.

Overall, all members must fully comply with this social media policy. Compliance with this policy is a condition of membership and any non-compliance will be subject to the Club’s disciplinary procedures. The Management Committee has the right to take appropriate action in the event of any member breaching the terms of this policy.

Policy Item 1: Be Authentic, Constructive and Respectful

On authorised Club Facebook profiles/pages, Twitter accounts, and indeed on any personal profiles/pages and accounts, all Club members (playing and non-playing) must:

  • Never post malicious, misleading or unfair content about the Club, its members, other Clubs, County RFUs, the RFU, sponsors, indeed any organisation or person,
  • Not post content that is obscene, defamatory, threatening (harassing, bullying, etc.)
  • Not be disparaging or discriminatory concerning the Club, its members, other Clubs, County RFUs, the RFU, sponsors, indeed any other organisation or person,
  • Not post comments that you would not say directly to another person or organisation – you must first consider how other people might react before you post,
  • If you respond to published comments that you may consider unfair, always be accurate and professional.

Policy Item 2: Be Respectful and Courteous

On authorised Club Facebook profiles/pages, Twitter accounts, and indeed on any personal profiles/pages and accounts, all Club members (playing and non-playing) must:

  • Think before you post anything or respond to someone on-line and ensure that all of your communications are respectful and courteous. Once you have put something on-line, there is almost no taking it back and it is almost impossible to delete. Your comments may be seen by the media, sponsors, etc. and could impact negatively on you and the Club.
  • Avoid getting into heated discussions online or talking about sensitive issues.
  • Speak to a member of the Club’s Management Committee if you feel as though someone is trying to provoke a response from you or harasses/threatens you online.
  • Think very carefully before you post and/or tag an image.
  • Be fully aware that the images you share online will reflect on yourself and the Club) so it is important that you consider this before uploading or tagging photos and videos. Also be aware that these photos may be taken out of context and used by the media or other people – so if you are not happy for the image to be shared publicly, it should not be placed on-line.
  • Respect other people’s accounts and devices.
  • If there is an occasion where a member leaves a mobile phone unattended or has not properly logged out of an account, do not use that person’s device or account to harass others or impersonate that person and cause them and/or the Club ‘humiliation’

Policy Item 3: Respect Copyright and Intellectual Property

Regarding authorised Club Facebook profiles/pages, Twitter accounts, and indeed on any personal profiles/pages and accounts, all Club members (playing and nonplaying) must:

  • Respect other people’s intellectual property including trademarked names and slogans and copyrighted material (it is best practice to assume that all content online is protected by copyright)
  • Make sure you have permission to post copyright items, properly attribute the work to the copyright owner where required, and never use someone else’s work as if it were your own. If you are unsure as to who might own an item of content, it’s better to `err` on the side of caution and not post the content.
  • In addition to respecting the laws pertaining to copyright and Intellectual Property, respect all laws and regulations in relation to privacy (data protection)

Policy Item 4: Respect Confidentiality

Regarding authorised Club Facebook profiles/pages, Twitter accounts, and indeed on any personal profiles/pages and accounts, all Club members (playing and nonplaying) must:

  • Only reference information that is publicly available.
  • Not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to the Club, its members, its suppliers, sponsors or any third party that has confidentially disclosed information to the Club,
  • Not cite post or reference the Club, its members, other Clubs, County RFUs, the RFU, sponsors, indeed any organisation or person without approval from the Club’s Management Committee.

Policy Item 5: Be Careful in Use of Logos, Trademarks or Materials

Regarding authorised Club Facebook profiles/pages, Twitter accounts, and indeed on any personal profiles/pages and accounts, all Club members (playing and nonplaying) must not use the logos, trademarks or materials of the Club, other Clubs, County RFUs, the RFU, sponsors, any organisation, unless it has been cleared for public use or been otherwise approved by the Club’s Management Committee.

Policy Item 6: Monitoring

All members must note that the Club’s Management Committee will be regularly monitoring use of social media by members to ensure that all are in compliance with this social media policy. Whilst the Club may need to take formal action in appropriate cases, all members must acknowledge what is expected in terms of social media use. Monitoring will also help the Club to identify perceptions towards it online, as well as any unauthorised and ‘fake’ profiles and accounts.

Version 1 – October 2020