M. CO-COUNSELING RELATIONSHIPS

M.3. Social Media and Communication Applications

Consistency with Our Guidelines

All communications between Co-Counselors should support the one-point program and reflect the other RC Community Guidelines, including the no-socializing policy (Guideline M.1. The No-Socializing Policy), confidentiality (Guideline A.1. Confidentiality), and data privacy (Guideline K.1. Internet Safety). If Co-Counselors use social media or communication applications (apps) to communicate or connect with other Co-Counselors, they must do so only in ways that are consistent with the Co-Counseling relationship (such as maintaining privacy, keeping confidentiality, and not acting out distresses).

Nature of Social Media Apps

Social media websites and apps are wholly or partially intended for communicating with, sharing, and posting social or other content publicly or to a broad group of people that is not restricted to Co-Counselors. (This is different from other forms of electronic communication such as email or text messaging, which has the primary purpose of one-to-one contact or contact intended for a specific group of people.) Many websites or apps have both social media components and components intended for one-to-one contact. 

Social media has many benefits. It facilitates communication, sharing, and relationship building. However, almost all social media services use these communications and the data they generate to expand their profit-making enterprises. They build profiles of individual users and networks of connections between social media “friends.” They generate vast stores of data about each of us that is used to do the following: sell us products and services, monitor our activities, disseminate false information, manipulate our interests and actions, and foster addictive behavior that keeps our attention on their media. They do this for their further financial gain and to promote their political agendas.

Consent

Co-Counselors may not add a Co-Counselor to online groups, email lists, or websites unrelated to RC without the Co-Counselor’s permission. Co-Counselors may choose to not accept requests to be added by another Co-Counselor to social media websites or apps if they don't think it will support their Co-Counseling relationship. If a Co-Counselor accepts the request to be added, both Co-Counselors are encouraged to discuss and counsel on how their social media contact can be used to support their Co-Counseling relationship in accordance with the RC one-point program and no-socializing policy.

Co-Counselors may not identify, without explicit permission, any other Co-Counselor as a Co-Counselor (through a picture, name, or any other personal information) on any public part of a social media website that is accessible to people who are not Co-Counselors. Co-Counselors must get permission from other Co-Counselors before posting images of them on any website or app. This does not apply to Co-Counselors who have chosen to participate in RC projects that use RC outside of the RC Community, such as United to End Racism (UER), Sustaining All Life (SAL), No Limits for Women (No Limits), and Jews and Allies United to End Antisemitism. These Co-Counselors have agreed to have their name and image used in connection with these projects.

Closed Groups[148]

Social media websites should not be used as a substitute for other Community-supported means of communication (the RC website, Area websites, RC email lists, and so on). Co-Counselors may create closed groups, on non-public parts of social media websites or apps that work in similar ways to RC Community-supported means of communication (such as the RC websites, an Area website, or RC emailing list). Each closed group should choose a leader to think about how they can use the electronic communication in a way that is consistent with the Guidelines and the one-point program of RC. That leader should then consult and reach agreement with a local Reference Person about the functioning of the group.

Co-Counselors using closed groups on social media websites should not expect their communications to remain private. This is due to the nature of these services. Instead, they should use alternative tools that are not designed to exploit their users. Signal Messenger is one alternative in the current period. (See: rc.org/privacytools for an updated list of safer alternatives.)

SUMMARY OF REASON

(The full reason is lengthy and can be found in the Appendix: Lengthy Reasons page ___ [print version].)

Non-RC social media websites and apps can be useful to Co-Counselors for

  1. connecting, and exchanging information;
  2. organizing, especially in constituencies for whom some communication methods used by the RC Community are less accessible;
  3. assisting in the functioning of the RC Community; and
  4. sharing the ideas and work of the RC Community, both in and outside of RC.

Non-RC social media websites and apps are businesses primarily motivated by their own economic and other exploitive interests. Their policies will not necessarily respect privacy or copyright, and we cannot assume they are private.

 


[148] A closed group on social media or communication apps is a group for communicating (using messages, voice notes, sharing pictures, and so on) that is not visible to the public.  People may only join or be added to a closed group with permission from the person who created the group or others who have been authorized to add people.


Last modified: 2022-10-10 04:28:45+00