Guidelines on the acceptable use of social media and online media by BRCA members
The aim of this article is to offer guidance as to what is and isn’t acceptable for BRCA members to post online, specifically with regard to racing incidents and judicial matters, regulations, fellow competitors, paddock rumours and speculation, Club management and race meeting officials.
Social media and personal websites - Facebook in particular - are extremely powerful tools both in terms of communications and interactivity, and provide a valued platform for RC Motorsport competitors and enthusiasts alike. Since it is in the public domain, interactive and open-ended, there is however a more significant onus of responsibility on competitors to behave courteously, politely and without becoming significantly provocative to others. It is clearly futile to try to discourage the use of social media since it offers more positives than negatives, however this document is intended to assist BRCA members in avoiding some of the common pitfalls that can arise and to help social media to be used in a responsible way.
BRCA members should present themselves online as they would when meeting face to face, and avoid posting anything that could be seen as aggressive, deliberately controversial or disparaging towards fellow competitors, race meeting officials or the Club itself. This includes not only comments but also deliberately provocative media, whether posts on websites, blogs and forums or the likes of videos/memes and social media.
Competitors are reminded that they are participating in a sport, and sporting decisions are governed largely by volunteers. Abuse towards such officials is as unacceptable online as it is in person. If you feel a sporting decision is incorrect then BRCA/Club procedures should be followed to appeal rather than online vilification in a fashion to the detriment of the Section, Club, Officials, and ultimately competitors, whether on social media or a person website/blog.
For disagreements of a less official nature, please be reminded that if friendly resolution is not possible face to face, then working to resolve differences is always better in private, rather than in the public eye, for the good of yourselves and the sport in general.
Members are also reminded that statements written and published online (whether on social media or a personal website) that defame the character of a person, business or organisation are no different to those same words in written print and are equally libellous, whereupon legal action may be taken.
For the avoidance of doubt, by registering for a BRCA Membership, Affiliated Club series or championship, the Club and competitor agrees to be bound by the above guidelines of online behaviour. As such, BRCA reserves the right to cancel any membership should online actions of an individual – or persons representing an individual – contravene the above.
- Don’t write something that you wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone.
- When posting on a social media website, assume that anybody can access that post.
- Determine whether you are participating in a personal or official capacity and consider whether your opinions and activity are appropriate in that context.
- Remember that participating in social media results in your comments being permanently available and open to being re-published by other media outlets. It should be assumed that anything published in social media will remain available indefinitely, even if it is deleted from the original site.
- Respect confidentiality, stay within the legal framework and be aware that safeguarding, libel, slander, copyright and data protection laws apply.
- Be aware that your interaction with social media may attract interest from the wider media, so proceed with caution whether you are participating in an official or personal capacity.
- Never use social media to insult anyone directly or indirectly.
- BRCA Members who hold a position of trust and/or responsibility over young people (ie those under 18 years of age) in the course of their duties should be very careful when interacting with those young people via social media.
- You should be mindful at all times that UK law continues to be applicable in the online environment.