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Members' personal information on Facebook

Posted: Wed Aug 28, 2019 3:32 pm
by kdfarrier
As secretary of our ward RS, I moderate a private Facebook page for our sisters. As I'm am relatively new in this calling, I have been working to make this page comply with the guidelines in Handbook 2. Most of these have been fairly straight-forward to implement.

However, item 6 in section 21.1.22.2 states: "Photographs of other individuals or personal information should not be displayed without consent." However, on the "Use of Online Resources in Church Callings" page, item 6 states: "Other people’s personal information must never be displayed."

So my question is: What if people post their own personal information? For example, a sister is hosting a baby shower for another sister in the ward. She posts an invitation to the RS page that includes her name, address, and telephone number for RSVPs. Is that allowed? "We" as a Relief Society presidency didn't post this; she did. Another example: A sister attends an activity and posts a picture of herself doing a craft or otherwise participating? Is that allowed?

Thank you.

Re: Members' personal information on Facebook

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:41 pm
by jdlessley
kdfarrier wrote:So my question is: What if people post their own personal information? For example, a sister is hosting a baby shower for another sister in the ward. She posts an invitation to the RS page that includes her name, address, and telephone number for RSVPs. Is that allowed? "We" as a Relief Society presidency didn't post this; she did. Another example: A sister attends an activity and posts a picture of herself doing a craft or otherwise participating? Is that allowed?

I would say yes to both situations because they provided the information. However, it is advisable to make sure they are aware of what they are doing and any information and pictures posted in public then can be available to all who have access to the web page. This is informed consent.

Re: Members' personal information on Facebook

Posted: Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:33 pm
by russellhltn
This is an interesting one. Officially, I'll point to Handbook 2: 0.2:
Leaders who have questions about information in the handbooks or about issues that are not addressed should direct the questions to their immediate presiding authority.

If that leader doesn't know, they can refer to their presiding authority.


Personally, while normally I'd consider the Handbook to the authoritative, I'll note that Handbook 2: 21.1.22.2 says "Please see internet.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for additional examples and clarification." By saying "clarification", it would suggest that page (which says "no personal information") is more authoritative.

Legally, I wouldn't think there would be an issue with an individual posting their own information, however, I can think of some situations where that could cause issues.
  • It sets a bad precedent. Some members may only remember that personal information was posted before and not understand why they can't post personal information about someone else.
  • Since we're talking about FB, the account name becomes important. If it's "Molly Smith" and the information posted is for "Molly Smith", then we know what's happening. But if the account name is "CTR1975", how do we know?
  • Along the same lines as the point above, how do we know it's not a fake account?

Bottom line, if you follow the policy of "no personal information", you may have unhappy members, but you'll never have to worry about talking to lawyers or worry if you're going against church policy.

Re: Members' personal information on Facebook

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:13 am
by sbradshaw
russellhltn wrote:[*]Since we're talking about FB, the account name becomes important. If it's "Molly Smith" and the information posted is for "Molly Smith", then we know what's happening. But if the account name is "CTR1975", how do we know?

It's against Facebook's policy to use anything other than your real name as the name of your Facebook account, so hopefully an account with the name "CTR1975" would be removed before it caused too much trouble.
russellhltn wrote:[*]Along the same lines as the point above, how do we know it's not a fake account?[/list]

Only members of a Facebook group can post in a group. Ideally, vetting should happen as people are being added to the group, to make sure that the people being added are actually members of the ward. If it's a fake account, there would be more to worry about than a person's info being posted.

Re: Members' personal information on Facebook

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:14 am
by russellhltn
sbradshaw wrote:It's against Facebook's policy to use anything other than your real name as the name of your Facebook account, so hopefully an account with the name "CTR1975" would be removed before it caused too much trouble.

I picked a bad example. It might be against policy, but there's at least two individuals on my friends list that are not using their real names - both women.

sbradshaw wrote:Only members of a Facebook group can post in a group. Ideally, vetting should happen as people are being added to the group, to make sure that the people being added are actually members of the ward. If it's a fake account, there would be more to worry about than a person's info being posted.

Yes, but I have seen spoofed accounts. I have gotten a friend request from someone of the same name and same photos as someone I'm already friends with. And from what I've seen posted, I'm not alone in that. As for vetting, yes, it should happen, but I have yet to see any vetting standard for inclusion in church groups. So, if someone with an account name that matches a name of a member asks to be included, they're likely to be added.

So, the individuals in the group may not be who you think they are. That might be why the church has the policy it does.