Facebook Guidelines

This forum contains discussions related to keeping families and individuals safe while making use of technology. Acceptable topics would range from how to protect families from Internet predators and online pornography, monitoring and protecting cell phone usage and text messaging, locking unwanted television and movies from various devices, protecting and monitoring computer game usage, and promoting safe Internet and technology use.

Facebook Guidelines

#1Postby zachwinter » Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:33 pm

I am a member of a singles ward with an important question regarding social media. An incident occurred on our ward's unofficial Facebook page where a member of the Bishopric posted the entire ward directory as a file on the Facebook group. This document included contact information from members who had marked their information as private. I am the executive secretary and removed the file, only to be reprimanded by the Bishopric for "overriding" them without authority.

I am seeking guidance as to whether or not it is permissible to put such information on social media sites. Could someone address that directly and let me know if there is a web site I can use to clarify any further questions? Thank you!
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#2Postby jdlessley » Sun Jun 23, 2013 11:14 pm

Handbook 2 has two sections and Handbook 1 has one section you should look at and then point them out to the bishopric.

Handbook 2 section 21.1.22 addresses the use of the Internet.

zachwinter wrote:An incident occurred on our ward's unofficial Facebook page...

I do not know how that Facebook page is set up. But the guidance in section 21.1.22 states
Stake and ward Web sites may be created only by using the official Church Internet resources. Stakes and wards are not authorized to create other Web sites or blogs or otherwise have a Church-sponsored presence on the Internet.

If that unofficial Facebook page is identified as belonging to the ward or has the appearance as belonging to the Church then there may be a problem.

The next section addresses directories. Handbook 2 section 21.1.15 addresses the limitations on the use of directories. Note the limitation on the information that may be included in the directory. I don't know how access to the Facebook page is controlled. But I doubt the security of information on the page can be controlled adequately to limit it to only ward members. Note that directories are not to be distributed outside the stake or ward boundaries. This could be difficult to prevent if access to the page is not limited to ward members.

When an administrator prints a ward directory from the online Directory there is an option to print "Members with Private Profiles". That option is available in the section titled "Leadership Only". It is clear that a directory printed to include members with private profiles should not be distributed to other than certain ward leaders. Distributing such a directory to all ward members is a violation of the privacy of those members who have chosen to have all or some of their information limited to leadership only. The privacy agreement for the online Directory is available in the "Review the Privacy Agreement" section of Editing Your Profile in the Directory Help. This agreement is what members expect. Ward leaders should abide by that agreement.

When a directory is printed from MLS the visibility limitations members have made to their information in the online Directory are not available. If the bishopric member prints from MLS there is no reminder of those visibility limitations and the bishopric member may need to be reminded there are members who have requested their information to be restricted. The best place to print a directory that will be distributed to the ward membership that will include member selected privacy settings is from the online Directory.

There is a section in Handbook 1 that addresses handling confidential or sensitive information. I do not have access to Handbook 1 so I cannot give the specific section. That section applies to the distribution of member information that has been designated for limited distribution to leadership only as well as member information beyond the stake or ward boundaries.
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#3Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 24, 2013 1:39 am

jdlessley wrote:Handbook 2 section 21.1.22 addresses the use of the Internet. [...]

If that unofficial Facebook page is identified as belonging to the ward or has the appearance as belonging to the Church then there may be a problem.


Some members may try to justify the web page by claiming "Members’ Use of the Internet in Church Callings". However note point 5: "Photographs of other individuals or personal information about them should not be displayed without their consent."


zachwinter wrote:I am the executive secretary and removed the file, only to be reprimanded by the Bishopric for "overriding" them without authority.

If I were you, my very next call would be to whoever conducts your training from the stake. I know stake clerk is responsible for ward clerks, so I'm guessing in your case it's the Executive Secretary. I wouldn't try to straighten your bishopric out. Let them get their correction from their trainers.

I'd highly recommend spending quality time with Handbooks 1 and 2. Once though is not enough. Because you frequently encounter new problems, you'll find new ways of looking at them that may have been overlooked on a prior reading because of the minimal but direct style of the handbook.
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#4Postby zachwinter » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:24 am

Thank you for the detailed responses. This issue concerned me greatly as well, and I appreciate everyone's attentiveness.

The page itself is clearly marked as being unofficial and not owned by the Church, but I will address your concerns with the appropriate leadership. Thanks again!
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#5Postby Gary_Miller » Mon Jun 24, 2013 6:43 am

zachwinter wrote:I am the executive secretary and removed the file, only to be reprimanded by the Bishopric for "overriding" them without authority.

Wither the Bishopric likes it or not you did the right thing by following the handbook. Its always better to correct a gross mistake, then talk about it later than it is to just do nothing.

The next thing you need to do is help your Bishopric to get out of the clerks office and let those who are responsible for doing administration tasks do them, so the Bishopric can do the ministering.
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#6Postby mrrad » Mon Jun 24, 2013 8:06 am

I think it would be really great if an "unofficial" ward Facebook page contained nothing but a link to the official "Tools" portion of LDS.org. I realize that the members of a YSA ward are more likely to visit Facebook out of habit. Somehow, however, we need them to develop a habit of visiting LDS.org, where 1) the ward's web presence will always be official, where 2) the listings in the directory will always be within church policies and where 3) there's an official newsletter section which, when used correctly, will tell them everything they need to know in order to be involved.

…and then I realize that the YSA members are likely to be annoyed by the way LDS.org will never keep them logged in (like Facebook does a bit too much) and even when they log in they get kicked off after just a few minutes. This lack of a persistent login may seem essential to the people at CHQ but I think it is a serious handicap to inviting people to use LDS.org on a regular, habitual basis. I'm not suggesting I have "the answer" but as long as this is what's happening then YSA Wards will continue to try using alternatives that seem more convenient to the members, like Facebook or blogs, instead of the official church resources. After all, with Facebook you just click on your bookmark or "favorite" link and bang! You're there... without having to go to a sign-in page every single time!
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#7Postby russellhltn » Mon Jun 24, 2013 11:16 am

zachwinter wrote:The page itself is clearly marked as being unofficial and not owned by the Church


Note that those guidelines only apply to personal pages. Wards and stakes cannot have a page - period.
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#8Postby toddf » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:16 am

@russellhltn

"Note that those guidelines only apply to personal pages. Wards and stakes cannot have a page - period."

Can you provide a link/reference were that statement is made official by the church? I am working with our Bishop on setting up/using online tools for the ward.
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#9Postby eblood66 » Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:27 am

toddf wrote:@russellhltn

"Note that those guidelines only apply to personal pages. Wards and stakes cannot have a page - period."

Can you provide a link/reference were that statement is made official by the church? I am working with our Bishop on setting up/using online tools for the ward.

Handbook 2 section 21.1.22
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Re: Facebook Guidelines

#10Postby willdendl » Tue Jul 02, 2013 12:08 pm

I'm working (my calling) with a YSA stake. My read from the handbook (see quotes below) is that a person could establish facebook page or group to use in Church callings as long as they state "“This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

Wondering if others understand this the same way?

Official Church Internet Resources

Stake and ward Web sites may be created only by using the official Church Internet resources. Stakes and wards are not authorized to create other Web sites or blogs or otherwise have a Church-sponsored presence on the Internet.

Members’ Use of the Internet in Church Callings

Individual members may create Web sites or blogs or make use of other appropriate Internet resources in their Church callings, provided they include a disclaimer such as “This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
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