COMMUNICATIONS AND
SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

Document Number: SAC-DOC-008

Latest Revision: 0.0, 08.09.2021

1.    INTRODUCTION 
S Adventure Cycling Ltd (SAC) recognises the benefits and opportunities offered by social media and other online communication tools such as Instagram, Facebook, Zoom, Skype etc. It also recognises the benefits of online messaging channels such as WhatsApp, Messenger, and direct messaging functionality on social media platforms. These benefits include the ability to communicate in near real-time with our community, to understand the views and opinions of our audiences, and to better promote inclusion and prevent discrimination amongst our community.

 

However, alongside the benefits of these tools are also several risks, including potential legal, ethical, or reputational issues which could ultimately result in significant harm to individual members of our community, and SAC and its ability to provide a safe and supportive work and learning environment. The lines between personal and professional social media usage often become blurred, and content can circulate quickly, and rapidly get out of control.
 

2.    SCOPE
SAC acknowledges the right to academic freedom and freedom of expression. However, conduct on social media and in online communications is treated the same way as any other conduct for the purposes of SAC policies and procedures. Users are expected to be aware of the standards of conduct required by SAC and our community and to maintain these standards, that this applies equally to inappropriate behaviour via social media and other online communications.

 

Social media and other online communications tools also present a high risk in relation to the sharing of personal data. Users must ensure that their communications on these channels comply with all the requirements and policies relating to our expected behaviours and the sharing and accessing of data, as well as data security and data protection. 
 

The purpose of this policy is to set out the required standards of behavior of all users of SAC branded communications tools, at all times, when using social media and other online communication tools.

 

3.    TYPE OF COMMUNICATION TOOLS
3.1.    Member-exclusive


3.1.1.    Member’s Forum
The main purpose of this communication tool is for members to exchange information with other members which may include adventure information, routes, questions, experiences, used items for sale etc.


3.1.2.    WhatsApp Groups
The main purpose of this communication tools is for members to connect with other members to arrange member-led rides in their own local area known as ‘Local Rides’. Non-members can join the Local Rides WhatsApp Groups via the SAC website as a good-will opportunity to ensure that the SAC community is suitable for them before committing to membership. The Local Rides WhatsApp Groups are monitored by SAC to ensure the good-will opportunity is not abused and SAC will remove non-members who have not attended a Local Ride and/or joined the membership within the preceding 4 weeks. This is managed via the mobile phone number registered in the membership directory. 


3.2.    Public


3.2.1.    Website Subscribed Emails
The main purpose of this communication tool is for SAC to communicate with its members and website subscribers. This is the main communication tool for up-to-date information about SAC. This may include newsletters, information about actions required by the membership to complete, surveys, information on new website content, new member-exclusive offers, and other information relevant to promoting the SAC brand and connecting the adventure cycling community. 


3.2.2.    Social Media Tools
The main purpose of this communication tools is for SAC to share news, adventure stories and information, member experiences, and to promote events and the SAC brand. 


3.2.3.    ‘Stories’ Blog
The main purpose of this communication tool is for members and SAC to share information with the public. This might include, news, adventure stories, reviews, adventure advise, tips, hacks, and opinions. Each post in the Blog is moderated by SAC during the publishing process to ensure all posts comply with this document. 

 

4.    ONLINE BEHAVIOUR
You must:

  • be responsible for what and how you communicate online. Consider your language and phrasing as well as comments on photographs, videos, or any other content before posting them.

  • treat others with respect and dignity and ensure that you avoid using language or other content which could be deemed to be offensive, threatening or humiliating to others, or incites hatred of any kind.

  • recognise that whatever you do online is extremely easy to share - intentionally or otherwise, and very rarely deleted. Do not assume that online content will remain private, even if originally shared in a closed profile or group, such as a WhatsApp chat or on Facebook Messenger. Content can become public quickly and it is important to consider before posting whether you would want SAC community, your friends and family, future employers, and the wider public to see what you’re doing at the time or in the future.

  • make sure that you have the facts straight on what you are posting/sharing and that you have appropriate permissions when writing about other organisations or institutions.

  • understand that forwarding and sharing content is often construed as support, unless you make your own view clear alongside the forwarded material.

  • include a statement within your profiles that states that the views are your own and not necessarily those of your employer or colleagues.

  • not breach any intellectual property rights that belong to someone else. There are many complexities to sharing information on social media involving copyright and intellectual property, you are advised to make sure you understand these and to speak to the social media team if you are unsure.

  • not engage in, promote, or encourage others to engage in illegal activity, or engage in any activity that promotes terrorism.

  • protect yourself, your privacy, and SAC’s confidential information by being careful with what you share and the passwords and security settings you use.

  • avoiding phishing attempts: not clicking links in posts, updates and direct messages that look suspicious and looking out for URLs contained in generic or vague-sounding direct messages and reporting them if you are concerned.

  • SAC and its members may also need to comply with social media guidance issued by relevant regulatory bodies (for example, the General Medical Council)

5.    BREACHES OF THE COMMUNICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA POLICY

SAC does not directly monitor all communications and social media  as part of its own social media activities. However, SAC does monitor mentions of SAC and other topics of relevance, so that it can respond directly to those raising questions or concerns about SAC. Activity by any user may appear as part of this monitoring.


SAC will be required to conduct further enquiries when it is made aware of alleged inappropriate online behavior or where a potential breach of this policy or any other SAC policy or Regulation is reported. This may include using comments, videos, photographs, or any other online material which have been posted or shared on social media sites as part of this investigatory evidence and, if appropriate, any subsequent disciplinary process. Serious breaches may result in the potential termination of an individual’s association with SAC. It may also be required to report activity to the Police.


While social media has many personal and professional benefits, unfortunately it also has the ability to cause great distress, upset and harm to users. The anonymous nature of social media accounts and lack of joined up legislation in the industry often means that it’s hard to identify the responsible parties, and users that are subjected to hate speech, discrimination, harassment or bullying, trolling, and other negative online communications can feel scared, isolated, and powerless. Issues can escalate quickly and can often return unexpectedly as new users see and share the content.


If you become involved in an issue on social media:

  • do not engage in conversation. Engaging and responding often draws more attention to the content due to algorithm design and means more people will see and become involved.

  • follow the advice in this policy to help keep yourself safe and your data secure.

  • take care of your mental health and wellbeing – contact the info@ScottishAdventure.org if you want to discuss the issue and the impact it has on your wellbeing.

  • report inappropriate online behaviour you see to SAC or to relevant authorities (such as the Police, web administrators, or to the platform on which the communication occurred).

  • talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about the problem offline. The fast-paced nature of social media often leads to problems escalating quickly, and it can be hard to consider solutions to the issue in isolation. Even if you believe that you acted inappropriately yourself, having a conversation in real life will almost always help the matter.

 

6.    EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

SAC recognizes its responsibility to ensure that no-one is discriminated against or disadvantaged in relation to a protected characteristic which include: age, disability, sex, trans and gender reassignment, maternity, paternity and adoption, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, or sexual orientation.