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Hot Topic Highlight – Use of Social Media: Guidance for RICS Members

Updated: Oct 30, 2023

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What is today's blog about?

In this week’s blog, we take a look at the new RICS Regulation paper on the Use of Social Media: Guidance for RICS Members (Version 1). We will cover some of the key principles of the guidance in this blog article.

You can read the full guidance here.

When does the guidance take effect from?

30 June 2021.

What is social media?

Social media has become increasingly popular over the last 5 years, with the property and construction industry adopting it as the norm.

Popular social media platforms include LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, forums, podcasts and blogs, amongst others. However, different platforms will have different purposes and uses, with some being more appropriate for business use than others.

LinkedIn, in particular, is an excellent business tool that can provide a visible online CV for surveyors, as well as providing the opportunity to connect with other professionals, clients and key stakeholders.

The line between surveyors’ personal and professional lives has become blurred online; this is where the new RICS guidance comes into play.

What can social media be used for professionally?

Social media has many benefits to businesses, such as:

  • Networking

  • Information sharing

  • Business generation

  • Marketing and advertising

  • Raising awareness

  • Reaching a wider audience

  • Gaining reviews and recommendations

What are the issues relating to social media use?

The blurred professional and personal use of social media means that surveyors need to be aware of how they conduct themselves online. This has been highlighted recently in a racism case relating to a commercial building manager.

The RICS Professional & Ethical Standards require Members to promote trust in the profession and to treat others with respect. This applies to our online presence and communications, not just face-to-face or traditional media, such as emails, letters and meetings.

This doesn’t mean, however, that surveyors should not have an online presence and use this to express their own opinions, message and values. However, we need to take responsibility for our online presence and ensure that we remain professional and respectful in what we post.

When may RICS investigate a social media post?

RICS may investigate a social media post that adversely impacts upon public confidence or trust in the profession.

This includes posts that are:

  • Discriminatory (which would also breach the Equality Act 2010)

  • Dishonest

  • Abusive or threatening

  • Bullying, harassing or victimising another person or people

  • Shows a pattern of frequent or a high number of concerning posts

  • Ignores previous advice or warnings about RICS concerns, or a request from RICS to remove a post

RICS will not investigate posts that are critical of an organisation or its policies and performance and that use professional and respectful language. However, if the criticism is of an individual then they may investigate.

Social media posts by Members on their personal accounts may fall within the remit of RICS Regulation if they are extreme or highly offensive. Furthermore, approval for or sharing of others’ discriminatory posts may also lead to investigation by RICS.

What action can RICS take in relation to a social media post?

Following investigation, RICS may take disciplinary action in serious cases.

How can we help?

Stay tuned for our next blog post to help build a better you.

N.b. Nothing in this article constitutes legal, professional or financial advice.


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