This policy provides guidelines for employees and volunteers to follow when they use social media tools on behalf of UCC Missoula, or when UCC Missoula becomes part of a social media dialogue. New social media tools emerge regularly. This policy applies to all forms of social media: those currently in use and those that UCC Missoula may adopt at any time.
Use of Social Media
- All UCC Missoula policies, including harassment, confidentiality, and software use policies, apply to the use of social media.
- UCC Missoula’s official social media participation is managed by a team consisting of the Social Media Coordinator and Church Administrator, with input from the Pastor. This team is responsible for regularly posting information on the ministry’s behalf and for monitoring and responding to posts on these pages.
- Ministry employees and volunteers who misuse the ministry’s social media resources in ways that violate the law or other ministry policies are subject to disciplinary action.
Social Media Guidelines
- Employees and volunteers interested in representing UCC Missoula on social media must first sign a consent and application form (currently under development) and attend a social media training class (also under development). The class will outline the recommended practices, limitations, and legal parameters for administering the ministry’s social media accounts.
- Social media postings should not disclose sensitive or personal information.
- Social media representatives shall not identify the individuals in photos on the ministry’s official social media pages without their prior written consent, which may be given by email or text.
- In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and best practices from the national UCC, social media representatives will not post any image of a child, defined as a person under the age of 18, on the ministry’s official social media pages, including in streamed services and events, regardless of parental consent.
- Social media representatives will respect copyright and fair use laws, making sure that they have permission or authority to use content before posting it. Simply giving credit to the author will not protect the ministry from a possible copyright infringement claim.
- Social media representatives will monitor the page at least once per day, removing content that is obscene, embarrassing, abusive, or otherwise objectionable. If any posted material appears to be illegal (example: child or elder abuse, etc.), social media representatives should contact the Social Media Coordinator and the Church Administrator. Those officers will devise the appropriate next steps.
- When communicating with youth via social media, employees and volunteers will adhere to the rules in the Abuse and Harassment Policy regarding that two adults be present for any interaction with or communication with youth. UCC Missoula strongly discourages staff members and volunteers from accepting invitations to “friend” youth members within personal social networking sites. Contacting or communicating with youth outside the ministry’s youth group may create risks for the ministry workers and alter the dynamic between a youth leader and youth.
- Employees and volunteers are responsible for the social media content they publish online, including content they publish through their own social media pages. As an employee or volunteer of UCC Missoula, remember that your online posts have the potential to affect the ministry, even those you make on a personal level. For this reason, we ask that you conduct your online interactions in accordance with this policy, the ministry’s statement of faith, and code of conduct.
- In the event of a crisis, contact the Church Administrator, church leadership, and the Senior Pastor before responding to any posting or comments related to the crisis.
Citations and sources:
https://www.ucc.org/church-liability-and-best-practices-for-posting-photos-and-videos/ “A best practice for a church is not to post photos or recordings of identifiable children, including images of children during the children’s message in worship service, even to private Facebook groups. Group distance shots and back of head shots during youth ministry activities are an alternative to identifiable photos of children, which may be downloaded and misused by others. And, a church that posts photos of youth may be subject to the same legal claims described above. Further, children are not in a legal position to provide their own consent to the use of their image and the church must rely on the consent of a parent or guardian. In some states, courts have found that parents cannot release or waive the claims of their minor children.”
https://new.uccfiles.com/pdf/ASF-SocialMediaGuidelines.pdf “With regard to a congregation’s Safe Conduct policies, online space should be regulated in similar ways to other church space: there must be more than one adult who administers church-related sites, closed groups, listservs, etc.; adults must minimize private, one-on-one conversations with youth; church leadership should periodically monitor the social media interactions of the adult leaders with minors.”
Social Media Policy adopted by Cabinet September 18, 2023