Best practices for Facebook

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sbradshaw
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Best practices for Facebook

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:59 pm

In preface: Using Facebook for stake/ward communication is a grey area of interpretation that's often debated here on the forums – relevant church policies can be found here, here, and here.

My stake president has considered these policies and approved the use of Facebook in our Young Single Adult stake. That said, I'd like to gather your thoughts on best practices. How would you use Facebook, if you were to use Facebook in your ward or stake?

Here is a summary of what we've discussed so far as an extended stake presidency (that is, stake presidency, clerks, and executive secretaries).

We should have a stake Facebook page.
  • Currently set up at https://www.facebook.com/ProvoUtahYSA9thStake
  • All posts by others require approval before they are made visible on the timeline.
  • Potential uses:
    – Let people know which ward they're in.
    – Alert people when boundaries or meeting times change.
    – Let people know how they can contact a ward leader or set up a stake interview.
    – Create Facebook events for stake meetings and activities.
    – Publicize stake goals.
    – Share messages from stake presidency members.
    – Let members know about stake resources.
    – Let members know about official church resources.
    – Sharing the gospel with people in our area.
We should encourage each ward to have a Facebook group.
  • Most of our wards already have Facebook groups, so we need to define some policies.
  • Ward groups should be "closed", meaning only group members can see the posts, and an administrator has to approve new members who join or are added.
  • Administrators should be careful to only allow ward members to join and should remove members after they move.
  • Administrators should monitor the group for inappropriate use.
  • The group should be one of multiple means of communication.
  • Potential uses:
    – Alert people when meeting times change.
    – Create Facebook events and remind members about ward meetings and activities.
    – Share stake Facebook events and remind members about stake meetings and activities.
    – Share messages from bishopric members and auxiliaries.
    – Let members know about ward resources.
    – Remind members what the lesson topic for the week is.
    – Request/provide opportunities for service.
    – Fellowshipping members and nonmembers in the ward.
Last edited by sbradshaw on Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

russellhltn
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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:08 pm

sbradshaw wrote:Ward groups should be "closed", meaning only group members can see the posts, and an administrator has to approve new members who join or are added.


That's all well and good, but how will this be accomplished? Who would be monitoring for compliance? In my view, this is where the whole thing could go off track into areas that CHQ is trying to avoid.
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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:11 pm

russellhltn wrote:
sbradshaw wrote:Ward groups should be "closed", meaning only group members can see the posts, and an administrator has to approve new members who join or are added.


That's all well and good, but how will this be accomplished? Who would be monitoring for compliance? In my view, this is where the whole thing could go off track into areas that CHQ is trying to avoid.


Whoever approves new members will need to first check the LDS.org directory, and if the person's not in the directory, ask a bishopric member or someone else who would know if the person just moved in.

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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:28 pm

sbradshaw wrote:Whoever approves new members will need to first check the LDS.org directory, and if the person's not in the directory, ask a bishopric member or someone else who would know if the person just moved in.

Good start. But it doesn't address the question of verifying that the person being added in FB really is the person in the directory. Are you getting the user's FB account name from them at church?

And there's still the area of handling move-outs. That's where I expect things to go downhill. There will be complaints if someone isn't added, but I don't see any natural force requiring the processing of move-outs. So I can see that falling behind. Maybe not so bad with a student ward where you could start from scratch each semester/trimester, but not so good with a non-student YSA ward.
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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:36 pm

Yes, it would fall behind if it wasn't carefully monitored. It wouldn't be a huge problem if it were a month or two behind, I think, but we'd want to follow up and encourage clerks to remove people simultaneously with sending out their membership records. Or, provide a list of move-outs each month to whoever is in charge of moderating the group.

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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:39 pm

In one of my other groups, someone said "laws without enforcement is just free legal advice". That' why I'm advocating some kind of "enforcement" procedure, perhaps an audit, to insure compliance.
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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:43 pm

russellhltn wrote:In one of my other groups, someone said "laws without enforcement is just free legal advice". That' why I'm advocating some kind of "enforcement" procedure, perhaps an audit, to insure compliance.


That's a good idea to audit it somehow. I guess we still audit membership and finances, even though most of the year we just trust the ward leaders to do their jobs.

One simple way to audit would be to compare the number of members in the ward with the number of members in the group. If there are ever, say 200 members in a group (when a normal YSA ward here has 100–150 members) we would know that there's a problem

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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby russellhltn » Sun Jun 29, 2014 6:49 pm

sbradshaw wrote:One simple way to audit would be to compare the number of members in the ward with the number of members in the group. If there are ever, say 200 members in a group (when a normal YSA ward here has 100–150 members) we would know that there's a problem

That's an obvious problem, but I'm not sure as all the members would sign up anyway. So even if the numbers are below the membership count, there still could be a significant problem.

Since FB names don't always match the person's name, any audit would have to rely on a chart created by the ward that shows what FB name belongs to what member. The only way I can think of to verify that is to randomly select 10 non-obvious names and call those members to confirm their FB name.
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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby sbradshaw » Sun Jun 29, 2014 7:04 pm

My ward has only had 2 or 3 people I know of without Facebook, in the past two years, and probably 95% of those with Facebook sign up for the group or are added by others and don't remove themselves.

You bring up an interesting point with not being able to verify if a person could have the same name as someone in the ward. Not sure to what extent we should worry about that possibility (I haven't seen any problems related to it so far). What kind of information could a person share in a ward Facebook group that would be compromising if someone with bad intent snuck in? What if an actual ward member has bad intent? How does that risk compare in severity and probability to other, non-Facebook related membership risks?

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Re: Best practices for Facebook

Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 30, 2014 12:06 am

sbradshaw wrote:You bring up an interesting point with not being able to verify if a person could have the same name as someone in the ward.

Considering how common some names are, I don't think you'd want to just go down the ward list and invite everyone with the same name. Not only are you going to end up inviting some incorrect people, but you'll miss others. I know of at least two people in my group who go by "less obvious", if not outright fictional names in order to be more private.

So in the name of security and accuracy, I think you'd be best off starting with a verified member and finding out what their FB name is. If there was a way to invite via email and you use the email in the directory, that might work.


sbradshaw wrote:Not sure to what extent we should worry about that possibility (I haven't seen any problems related to it so far). What kind of information could a person share in a ward Facebook group that would be compromising if someone with bad intent snuck in?

All I know is the church had gone to a great deal of effort to insure that only member can see their own ward. Back in the LUWS 1.0 days, there was a admin test question that indicated that Youth activities were not to be posted on the ward's main page which was publically visible. I'm not entirely sure of the reason, but somewhere I picked up the concern about predators. While college students are not youth, I'm not sure as they are that much safer from a predator who can "speak the lingo".

At any rate, the church system sets the standard for security. If your method is laxer, then you are giving someone ammo to shut it down. You can show you are just as secure, and verifiably so, then they may let it go.
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