ECB Social Media Guidelines


By following some simple guidelines potential pitfalls can be avoided and social media can be safely used as a promotional tool and a means of communication for the club.


Club Officials / Coaches / Managers

Facebook and Twitter accounts are great for promoting your club and cricket in general, as well as being a fun way to unwind and stay in touch with friends: it is essential to keep these two worlds separate. You should have separate cricket-club related and personal pages; all contact with players should be through the former and strictly in relation to training, coaching, matches and cricket related activity. You should also adjust the privacy settings for your personal account so that content is only visible to accepted ‘friends’. This will keep younger players safe from material that may be unsuitable for them, and will reduce the risk of your online interactions from being viewed with suspicion.

Although younger players may see you as a friend, and may request to be your ‘friend’ on a social media site, you should direct them to the cricket- club related page and keep

all contact professional. What they might consider innocent, friendly contact may not be seen as such by their parents, people at the club and others. It is also important to be mindful of any content you post online via the cricket-club related page; remember: You are representing the club Your communications should conform to ‘Safe Hands’ policy and guidance. Ensure that nothing you post could cause personal distress or be seen as inappropriate for children. If you wouldn’t put it on the club notice board, it doesn’t belong on the club’s social media pages You should have consent before posting any personal information online – this includes photographs where an individual can be identified. Remember the picture/no name guidance for under 18s If you are in charge of a social media page for your club, league, panel etc., further guidance has been provided by the Child Protection in Sport Unit (CPSU): http://www.nspcc.org. uk/Inform/cpsu/resources/briefings/social_ networking_services_wdf69029.pdf.


Texts and emails: contacting Under 18players

The Children Act defines a person under 18 years as a child You should make arrangements for under 18s via their parents or carers; this includes text and email messages.

It is understood that in the case of over 16’s this may not be ideal for yourself or the parents. An acceptable exception to this rule is to text or email the parent and to copy in the 16 or 17 year old, with the parent’s prior consent. This means the parent is able to monitor communications, but the 16 or 17 year old receives the information directly. If you receive any responses from that appear inappropriate they should be brought to the attention of the parent or carer. You should not engage in individual text or email conversations with a 16 or 17 year old without their parent receiving the same messages from you. All contact with children should be in relation to coaching, matches and cricket-related activity.


Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts Coaches / Managers / Clubs DO

Have separate social media accounts for cricket-club related and personal use. Keep your photos and personal information private. Apply the Codes of Conduct and appropriate professionalism to your behaviour online, by text and email. Obtain consent before posting any personal information online – this includes photographs where an individual can be identified. Remember the picture/no name guidance for under 18s

Coaches / Managers / Clubs DO NOT

Send text messages to juniors – make arrangements via their parents. Send private messages to children and young people via social media. Invite or accept children and young people to become “friends”. Send inappropriate text messages or post messages on social media that are offensive, nasty or derogatory in any way.


Adult players in Open Age teams

Please be mindful of who may have access to material you share via social media, including Facebook, twitter and other platforms.


If you have concerns regarding social media, texts and emails

If you suspect that someone is using social media in an unsafe or inappropriate manner, you should report their behaviour to your Club Welfare Officer, the County Welfare Officer, or the ECB Safeguarding team – email safeguarding@ecb.co.uk

If you believe that an offence has been committed, or that someone’s use of social media is placing a child is at risk of harm, inform the police immediately.



LEAGUE CRICKET CONFERENCE BRIEFING ON SOCIAL MEDIA ABUSE


The December 2012 Meeting of Conference heard of a number of instances of usage of social media sites to communicate abuse of people involved in the playing and administering of Cricket. The problem is of course not merely consigned to Cricket as witnessed by a number of high profile claims now being brought in the Courts by persons alleging that they have been wrongly maligned on Social Media Sites. Consequently the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has just issued Interim Guidelines on when the CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) should prosecute. These Interim Guidelines have taken immediate affect but are subject to Consultation which closes on 13th March 2013. The purpose of this briefing to Leagues and their Member Clubs is to make you are aware of this Interim Guidance and to give people the opportunity to make representations to the DPP

Background

1. There are four types of communicated content which may give grounds for prosecution.

2. The Malicious Communications Act 1988 deals with the sending to another of an electronic communication which is

INDECENT or

GROSSLY OFFENSIVE or

CONVEYING A THREAT or

FALSE AND INTENDED TO CAUSE DISTRESS OR ANXIETY TO THE RECIPIENT


3. The Communication Act 2003 makes it an offence to send or instruct others to send on your behalf through a Public Electronic Communications Network  a message or other matter which is

INDECENT OBSENCE or OF MENACING CHARACTER or

FALSE AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF CAUSING ANNOYANCE INCONVENIENCE OR NEEDLESS ANXIETY TO ANOTHER.


A 2012 High Court Decision Chambers v DPP  has held that the Social Media Site ‘Twitter’ is a Public Electronic Communications Network. The same would therefore apply to Facebook and LinkedIn. Prior to the decision it had been argued that these were privately owned and operated content sites which people searched on rather than part of a communication network  

 

4. The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated the European Convention on Human Rights into the English Law and Article 10 of the Convention refers to a Right of Freedom of Speech. Any restrictions on this right must be judged on the facts of each case to be “necessary and proportionate”


5. It is with this background that the DPP has issued Interim Guidelines on when to prosecute


The Interim Guidelines


1. Grounds for prosecution may exist for those communicating through Social Media Sites, contents which

 Constitute  CREDIBLE THREATS OF VIOLENCE OR DAMAGE IN THOSE TO WHOM IT IS COMMUNICATED OR TO WHOM  MAY BE REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO SEE IT

 Are considered to be GROSSLY OFFENSIVE, or INDECENT or OBSCENE or FALSE

2. In determining when to prosecute the CPS should impose a “high threshold” and should only do so when it is “necessary and proportionate”. The Guidelines state that therefore CPS  should prosecute


FIRSTLY if the message is more than just

OFFENSIVE, SHOCKING or DISTURBING

SATIRICAL,ICONOCLASTIC or RUDE COMMENT

AN EXPRESSION OF UNPOPULAR  or UNFASHIONABLE OPINION ABOUT SERIOUS or TRIVUAL MATTERS or  BANTER or HUMOUR


SECONDLY that it is in the Public Interest to prosecute. The Guidelines state it would be unlikely to be in the Public Interest where any of the following applies

 The person making the communication takes swift action to remove the communication or expresses genuine remorse

 The Service Provider (note this has a wide meaning) takes swift and effective action to remove the communication or otherwise block it.

 The communication was not intended to be made for a wide audience nor was it obvious based on the facts of the case that a wide audience would have seen it

 The communication did not go beyond what could be conceivably be regarded as “tolerable or acceptable in an open and diverse society that upholds and respects freedom or expression”


3. The Guidelines infer however that where a communication is targeting a particular victim with an intention to cause distress or anxiety and the likelihood that the particular victim would read it, it could be in the public interest to prosecute


4. The CPS should look at the age and maturity of the person sending the communication. The Guidelines suggest prosecution of minors  would rarely be in the Public Interest.


Conclusions

1. Leagues and Clubs who run their own web-sites and or facebook / twitter pages must ensure that they have Officials who regularly monitor what is put on the Site. “Moderators”.

2. The Moderators should have a good knowledge of the Guidelines and this Briefing

3. Leagues and Clubs should show they take seriously the issue of communications made in the name of the Club and two examples of how this can be done are

 Ensuring the use of the website and other social media sites in the name of the League / Club is an item on an Agenda of Meetings

 The League or Club have rules within its Constitution to take action against miscreants who abuse the use of the facilities.


Malcolm Buck- Solicitor to the League Cricket Conference