Electronic Communications and Social Media Policy

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1. Introduction

In this new era of social media and enhanced electronic communication is the increased risk to do or say things that others might take offence.

Motorcycling Australia (MA) and the State Controlling Bodies (SCB’s) recognise the importance of the increased usage of electronic mediums to communicate, and encourage responsible and ethical online behaviour.

Due to the immediate nature of communication to a wide audience using channels such as facebook, twitter, and SMS, participants need to be very mindful of a few key matters that could lead to inappropriate use of new media, at times unintended, and at other times without a proper understanding that once comments are made or published, they are in public for a long time, and hard to take back (retract).

This policy sets out a framework for acceptable online behaviour where communications involve fellow MA members, volunteers, officials, coaches, sponsors, partners, staff and anyone else connected with our sport or clubs.

The new policy covers such things as the guiding principles, usage, intellectual property, official MA social media, consideration to others and what happens if there is a breach of policy.

Please be aware this policy does apply where reference is made to MA, the SCB’s, members, staff, clubs, volunteers etc, even if made on your personal pages. The policy is not designed to restrict fair comment and criticism, but it is designed to ensure fair play in making those comments and criticisms.

2. Purpose

2.2 Motorcycling Australia (MA) and the State Controlling Bodies (SCB’s) Electronic and Social Media and Policy has been developed to serve the best interests of its members. Social networking through the use of internet-based and other electronic social media tools are integrated into everyday life. The importance of the internet has been recognised within the Sport to improve and increase the flow of information, shaping public thinking about our organisation, members, sponsors and partners.

2.3 MA and the SCB’s are committed to supporting your right to interact knowledgeably and socially through electronic communication, blogging, wikis and interaction in Social Media.

2.4 It is important that MA, its SCBs, members, affiliated clubs and officials’ (hereafter referred to as the Organisation) reputations are not tarnished by anyone using electronic communications or social media tools inappropriately, particularly in relation to any content that refers to the Organisation. When someone clearly identifies their association with the Organisation, and/or discusses their involvement in this type of forum, they are expected to behave and express themselves appropriately, and in ways that are consistent with MA’s and the SCB’s stated values and policies.

2.5 This policy provides guidelines to assist to open up a respectful, and knowledgeable interaction with people on the internet. It also protects the privacy, confidentially and interests of current and potential members.

2.6 This policy does not apply to the personal use of electronic communications and social media platforms by MA members or staff where the user is referring to issues other than motorcycling, MA, SCBs, affiliated clubs, members, officials, promoters and events.

3. Scope

3.1 This policy applies to MA members, staff or any individual representing themselves or passing themselves off as being a member of MA whether they are in a paid or unpaid/voluntary position:

  •  Individuals sitting on boards, committees and sub-committees;
  • Employees of MA and the SCBs;
  • Clubs, promoters and volunteers;
  • Members including licence holders;
  • State representative officials and athletes;
  • Support personnel (e.g. managers, mechanics, family members etc);
  •  Coaches and Officials

3.2 Members include all members of SCB affiliated clubs and MA licence Holders in each State and Territory.

3.3 This policy covers all forms of electronic communications and social media. Electronic communications and social media includes, but is not limited to:

  • SMS and emails;
  • Websites;
  • Maintaining a profile page on social or business networking sites (such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Shutterfly, Skype or MySpace);
  • Micro-blogging sites e.g Twitter;
  • Content sharing include Flicker (photo sharing) and YouTube (video sharing);
  • Weblogs, including corporate blogs, personal blogs or blogs hosted by traditional media publications;
  • Forums and discussion boards such as Whirlpool, Yahoo! Groups or Google Groups;
  • Leaving product or service reviews on retailer sites, or customer review sites;
  • Taking part in online votes and polls;
  • Taking part in conversations on public and private web forums (message boards); or
  • Online encyclopaedias such as Wikipedia;
  • Any other websites;
  • Reposting content:
  • Members shall not repost content if the member knows that the content has not been appropriately credited to the original source.

3.4 The intent of this policy is to include anything posted online or communicated electronically where information is shared that might affect members, colleagues, clients, sponsors or motorcycling as an organisation.

4. Guiding Principles

4.1 The web is not anonymous. MA, and the SCB members and staff should assume that everything they write can be traced back to them.

4.2 Due to the unique nature of our sport, the boundaries between a member’s profession, volunteer time and social life can often be blurred. It is therefore essential that members make a clear distinction between what they do in a professional capacity and what they do, think or say in their capacity as a member or volunteer for MA. MA considers all members of MA are its representatives.

4.3 Honesty is always the best policy, especially online. It is important that MA members think of the web as a permanent record of online actions and opinions. Even when an item is deleted from a particular site it continues to exist in some form somewhere.

4.4 When using the Internet for professional or personal pursuits, all members must respect the MA and the SCB brands and follow the guidelines in place to ensure MA’s intellectual property or its relationships with sponsors and stakeholders is not compromised (see section 5 below), or the organisation is brought into disrepute.

5. Usage

5.1 For MA members and staff using electronic communications or social media, such use:

  • Must not contain, or link to, libellous, defamatory or harassing content. This also applies to the use of illustrations or nicknames;
  • Must not comment on, or publish, information that is confidential or in any way sensitive to MA, its affiliates, partners or sponsors; and
  • Must not bring the organisation or MA or motorcycling into disrepute.
  • Must not unfairly criticise MA or the SCB’s affiliated clubs or members
  • Must not make threats of any kind to MA members.

5.2 For MA and SCB staff using electronic and social media, such use must not interfere with work commitments.

5.3 Furthermore, MA members and staff may not use the MA brand (see section 7 below) to endorse or promote any product, opinion, cause or political candidate; and it must be abundantly clear to all readers that any and all opinion shared are those of the individual, and do not represent or reflect the views of MA.

6. Caution recommendations

  • Do not include personal information of yourself or others in social media channels;
  • Do not use offensive, provocative or hateful language;
  • Use your best judgment – do not publish something that makes you the slightest bit uncomfortable, and never write/publish if you are feeling emotional or upset (or are intoxicated);
  • Never post a photo of a child or young person without permission from the child’s parent or guardian (see taking images of children policy)
  • Always ask for an adults permission before posting their pictures on a social networking forum;
  • Never comment on rumours, do not deny or affirm them or speculate about rumours; and
  • Always use social network forums to add value and promote the sport in a positive way.

7. Branding and Intellectual Property (IP)

7.1 It is important that any trademarks belonging to MA, the SCBs or affiliated clubs are not used in personal social media applications, except where such use can be considered incidental – (where incidental is taken to mean “happening in subordinate conjunction with something else.”). Trademarks include:

  • Club, SCB and MA logos. Only MA and the SCBs have the right to use their logos in any form, including on social media unless express permission is granted. If such permission is granted, then the person using the logo must adhere to the Logo usage guidelines.
  • The “Enjoy the ride”, “GoMoto”, “Minikana”, “MotoSafe”, “Queensland Moto Park” or any other associated slogans;
  • Images depicting volunteers, staff and/or equipment, except with the permission of those individuals;
  • Other MA or SCB imagery

8. Official MA blogs, social pages and online forums

8.1 When creating a new website, social networking page or forum for staff/club member use, care should be taken to ensure the appropriate person at a club/state level has given written consent to create the page or forum.

8.2 Similarly, appropriate permissions must be obtained for the use of logos or images. Images of children may not be replicated on any site without the written permission of the child’s parent and/or guardian.

8.3 For official MA blogs, electronic communications, social pages and online forums:

  • Posts must not contain, nor link to, pornographic or indecent content;
  • Some hosted sites may sell the right to advertise on their sites through ‘pop up’ content which may be of a questionable nature. This type of hosted site should not be used for online forums or social pages as the nature of the ‘pop up’ content cannot be controlled;
  • MA members or employees must not use MA online pages to promote personal projects; and
  • All materials published or used must respect the copyright of third parties.

9. Consideration towards others when using social networking sites

9.1 Social networking sites allow photographs, videos and comments to be shared with thousands of other users. MA members and staff must recognise that it may not be appropriate to share photographs, videos and comments in this way. For example, there may be an expectation that photographs taken at a private MA permitted event will not appear publicly on the Internet. In certain situations, MA members or staff could potentially breach the privacy act or inadvertently make MA liable for breach of copyright.

9.2 MA members or staff should be considerate to others in such circumstance and should not post information when they have been asked not to or consent has not been sought and given. They must also remove information about another person if that person asks them to do so.

9.3 Under no circumstance should offensive comments be made about MA members, officials or staff online.

10. Consultation or Advice

10.1 This policy has been developed to provide guidance for MA members and staff in a new area of social interaction. MA members or staff who are unsure of their rights, liabilities or actions online and seek clarification, should contact the MA Communications Department or their SCB.

11. Complaints

11.1 If an MA member or affiliated club considers that any other MA member has breached this policy, that member or club should report that concern, in writing, to the RCB (Relevant Controlling Body) who will determine the appropriate action.

12. Breach of Policy

12.1 MA, its SCBs and clubs continually monitor online activity in relation to the organisation and its members. Detected breaches of this policy should be reported to the RCB.

12.2 If detected, a breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action from the RCB. A breach of this policy may also amount to breaches of other MA policies. This may involve a verbal or written warning or in serious cases, termination of employment or engagement with the SCB or MA. MA members may be disciplined in accordance with MA disciplinary regulations as set out in Chapter 4 of the Manual of Motorcycle Sport (MoMs).

12.3 Disciplinary action may include penalties in the form of:

12.3.1 a warning or caution,

12.3.2 a suspended penalty,

12.3.3 a fine of up to $5,000,

12.3.4 a suspension from membership,

12.3.5 loss of licence for up to 2 years or,

12.3.6 a combination of any of the above

See section 4.3.6.4 of the MoMs

12.4 An appeal against a decision made by the RCB must be made in accordance with section 5.3.1.2 of the MoMs.

By |August 18th, 2015|GENERAL|Comments Off on Electronic Communications and Social Media Policy

About the Author:

Kendall Jennings, KAJX Communications photojournalist since 2002.KAJX: Kendall A. Jennings (Photojournalist), who is a big X-Files and Motocross/Supercross fan. 🙂“I am extremely passionate about motorcycles and have been riding a motorcycle since I was 4 years old. I was introduced to the world of motocross racing in 1998 and haven’t looked back.” Kendall Jennings.
 
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