Social media refers to any internet-based tool, created for users to upload and download information.
Social media is distinct from Industrial Media (such as newspapers, television, and film), which are created for delivering one-way information to the visitor/consumer, and generally require significant resources, as well as adherence to standards and verification processes to publish information.
Social media comprises relatively inexpensive and accessible tools that enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information.
These tools and technologies facilitate the widespread publication and sharing of information, opinions, and digital files, and therefore readily constitutes engagement in public discourse, discussion, advertising, exchange of data, and public presentation, to a broad audience.
Therefore, whether an online activity is able to be viewed by the public or is limited to a specific group of people, health professionals (and students of association-approved courses) need to maintain professional standards and be aware of the implications of their action, as in all professional circumstances.
Health professionals need to be aware that all information circulated on social media may end up in the public domain, and remain there, irrespective of the intent at the time of posting.
Health practitioners should also be aware of their ethical and regulatory responsibilities when they are interacting online, just as when they interact in person.
Accredited Health Practitioners should only post information that is not in breach of these obligations by:
- complying with professional obligations
- complying with confidentiality and privacy obligations (such as by not discussing patients or posting pictures of procedures, case studies, patients, or sensitive material which may enable patients to be identified without having obtained consent in appropriate situations)
- presenting information in an unbiased, evidence-based context, and
- not making exaggerated, unethical or unsubstantiated statements or claims.
Note: Additional information may be provided from professional bodies and/or employers, which aims to support health practitioners' use of social media. However, the legal, ethical, and professional obligations that accredited health practitioners must adhere to are set out in ANTA's policies and guidelines.
Whether using Social Media for official use, or in a private capacity, members must not do anything which could bring themselves or the profession into disrepute.
It should be noted that the nature of social media means the following private activities may increase the risk of reputational damage and therefore require caution and discretion:
- posting personal images, information or links
- disclosing one's own and others' personal information
- expressing approval or disapproval of individuals or organisations (especially within the practitioner's professional network)
- engaging in public debate, particularly about or involving the profession (such as with journalists, authorities or public figures)
Note: As part of ANTA's Codes of Conduct members have a professional responsibility to provide an inclusive and supportive environment, free from discrimination, harassment or bullying, in their use of social media and all public interaction.
All ANTA members are personally responsible for any content they post online using social media sites or other electronic communications.
Social Media includes (although not limited to):
- Social Networking & Micro-Blogging platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Weibo, etc.)
- Video and Photo Sharing websites (e.g. Flickr, Tumblr, YouTube, Vimeo, etc.)
- Website Blogs (including sites hosted by 3rd parties, with a 'Comments' or 'Your Say' feature)
- Wikis and Online Collaborative Repositories (e.g. Whirlpool, Quora, Reddit, etc.)
- Internal Communication technologies (e.g. Qmaster Chat, MS Sharepoint, Team etc.)
- Online Meeting and Conferencing Tools (e.g. Skype, Zoom, Viber, Whatsapp, Slack, Discord, etc.)
- Instant Messaging Technologies (e.g. Short Message Service (SMS), Messengers, etc.)
- Online Multiplayer Gaming & Streaming (e.g. Twitch, Ustream, Mixer, In-Game, etc.)
- Geo-Spatial Tagging platforms (e.g. Foursquare, etc.)
To download a copy of our Social Media Policy please click the link.