Condo Media - May 2014 - (Page 24)

ASKED & NAME COLUMN ANSWERED Being Social Media Savvy Use Caution With Facebook and Other Tools Q QUESTION: The board of my community association (of which I am a member) is considering creating a Facebook page for the community. We have a website, but we think Facebook will improve our ability to communicate with residents, especially younger ones, who seem to rely much more on social media than on websites, email, and other more traditional communication avenues for information. Although most board members favor this plan, a few have expressed concern about the association's potential liability for messages posted on our Facebook page. Is this a legitimate concern, and if so, how should we address it? A ANSWER: Indeed, legal liability is a legitimate concern and a significant one for Facebook and other social media platforms - so serious, in fact, that many attorneys and insurance professionals advise community associations to avoid them. But many industry professionals agree with your board that social media is the most effective way to communicate with younger people and may eventually be the primary means of communication with community association residents. The primary liability concern is libel, but it is not the only one. Copyright infringement, plagiarism, harassment, and invasion of privacy, among others, are also on the list. If you want to create a Facebook page, you have to consider those risks and take some steps to protect the association, primary among them: * Consult your attorney for help in developing a social media policy (covering all forms of Internet communication) and adhere strictly to it. * Define and, where appropriate, limit who has access to your Facebook page and any other social media platforms the association controls. Also control who is allowed to "speak" on association platforms and what they are allowed to say. * Expressly prohibit negative or disparaging comments about individuals or entities. * Prohibit the publication of any confidential or potentially embarrassing information - about owners or em- 24 CONDO MEDIA * MAY 2014 ployees, or anyone else - that might violate their privacy rights. * Assert the right of the board to remove comments that violate the standards you establish for published comments and to deny access to individuals who fail to respect the terms of use. * Establish procedures for screening content before it is posted and for removing content deemed to be offensive, potentially libelous, or otherwise inconsistent with the usage standards. * Think carefully before tweeting, blogging, posting, or emailing any communication. Comments made in cyberspace travel quickly, can hang around for a very long time, and have the potential to do great harm. And never accuse anyone of anything in writing. Even if you are convinced the accusations are true, the web is the last place you should air them. The most effective way to avoid liability for comments made on a website or social media platform is not to post them - or allow anyone else to post them - in the first place. * Check your insurance policies to determine what coverage they provide, if any, for potential social networking exposures. This step should probably be near or on the top of the list. Some general liability policies provide limited coverage for defamation, but many directors and officers policies specifically exclude it. Even if you have some coverage, you may want to increase it, if your insurer is willing; social media appears to be an area insurers are liking less and less. CM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Condo Media - May 2014

Condo Media - May 2014
From the CED’s Desk
Editorial Board
CAI News
CAI Regional News
Asked & Answered
Homeowner’s Corner
And the Winners Are ...
Vendor Spotlight
Industry Perspective
Volunteer Spotlight
CAI-NE Legal Directory
Classifi ed Service Directory
Advertisers Index

Condo Media - May 2014