My ward is looking to develop a ward facebook group, and we are being careful to follow the proper guidelines: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/pages/online-resources-for-church-callings?lang=eng&_r=1&cid=vb-internet
The plan is to make this a "private" group, where members can only be added by Admins (which will include a ward clerk and bishopric member). This is being done to maintain privacy and keep content/discussion between ward members only. The plan is to make events separately and to make these "public" so that members can invite their friends/neighbors to the events.
One item we can't seem to find a straightforward answer on is the posting of pictures (from ward activities, etc.) in a private group.
At first it seems clear-cut as #6 on the General Guidelines states: "Other people’s personal information must never be displayed. Images or videos of other people should not be displayed unless the individuals have given written consent."
However, reading further it makes it seem that the guideline may apply to forums that are open to the public. From an example "After receiving permission from the bishop, the ward Relief Society presidency creates a blog that will include news, uplifting messages, lesson schedules, and photos from recent activities. Since this blog is public, they never include personal information, and they take care to post photos only of those individuals who have given them permission to do so."
"Since this blog is public" leads one to believe that if the blog were private, the restriction would not apply.
Down in the "Additional Best Practices" section, it states "Social media profiles, pages, and groups can be either public (open to everyone) or private (only accessible to those who have been invited to participate by a moderator). There are benefits and drawbacks to both options. When setting up a new page, group, or profile, prayerfully consider the benefits of being either public or private."
Those benefits and drawbacks aren't clearly delineated, however if a "Private Group" avoids the requirement of having permission slips for every person in every picture posted, and avoiding situations such as removing the post a YM creates to recap High Adventure until he submits proper permission slips, then that would be a clear benefit.
This was discussed thoroughly in Ward Council, with someone bringing up the point that the requirement for permission slips for the Ward History is about intellectual property and not privacy. The IP issue doesn't apply when putting photos on FB as long as the poster owns the photos, which one would assume to be the case. Another point is that the photos in a "Private" FB group have the same audience as photos posted on the meetinghouse bulletin board following scout camp (actually a smaller audience since other wards that meet in the same building won't be in the FB Group), and I don't believe we require permission slips in that situation.
Any thoughts, or direction towards a policy addressing this question would be greatly appreciated!
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wbmerrell wrote:Another point is that the photos in a "Private" FB group have the same audience as photos posted on the meetinghouse bulletin board following scout camp (actually a smaller audience since other wards that meet in the same building won't be in the FB Group), and I don't believe we require permission slips in that situation.
The underlying issue is legal more than anything.
The laws governing electronic posting is not necessarily the same as for bulletin boards. This especially applies to photos or information about children. The laws may not make a distinction between "private" websites and public.
The rules are undoubtedly written to be simple and keep leadership out of trouble. Should anyone file a lawsuit (it happens), the church can point to the manual and claim there's no basis for the church to be at fault - leaving the person who posted it to bear the full brunt of the legal case.
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