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This guidance should be read together with The Architects Code: Standards of Professional Conduct and Practice (the Code). In particular, Standards 1 (Honesty and integrity), Standard 9 (Maintaining the reputation of architects), and Standard 12 (Respect for others).

This guidance is not intended to cover every situation that may arise from social media; however, it sets out broad principles to enable architects to act in a manner befitting a regulated professional.

As the nature and scope of social media is constantly evolving, ARB will review and update this guidance as necessary.

Introduction

ARB recognises that the majority of architects find using social media beneficial, and do so without any issues.

When used responsibly and appropriately, social media can offer benefits for architects, such as:

  • Marketing of your business;
  • Building and maintaining professional relationships;
  • Raising the profile of the profession;
  • Developing skills and sharing knowledge.

This document provides guidance for architects on how to use social media responsibly and in line with the requirements of the Code. The principles outlined in this guidance can also be applied to other types of online communication, such as personal websites and blogs, discussion boards and general content shared online, including sharing group text, images, video and audio files.

The Architects Code

Architects may put their registration at risk if they act in a way that is unprofessional or unlawful on social media including, but not limited to:

  • Sharing confidential information inappropriately;
  • Making offensive or abusive comments;
  • Using language intended to shock or threaten;
  • Inciting hatred or discrimination.

When using social media, you should, in particular, bear in mind the following aspects of the Code:

Introduction
“You are expected to be guided in your professional conduct and professional work by the spirit of the Code as well as by its express terms. The Code also covers your private life where your conduct may affect your fitness to practise as an architect, or public confidence in the profession.”

Standard 1.1
“You are expected at all times to act with honesty and integrity and to avoid any actions or situations which are inconsistent with your professional obligations.”

Standard 9.2
“You are expected to conduct yourself in a way which does not bring either yourself or the profession into disrepute.”

Standard 12.1
“You should treat everyone fairly. You must act in compliance with your legal obligations. You must not discriminate because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.”

How to use social media responsibly

The following principles should be applied when using social media:

Be informed
You should familiarise yourself with how individual social media sites or applications work before using the platform.  If you are an employee of a practice with a social media policy, you should familiarise yourself with it.

Think before you write
Communication by electronic means is immediate, and often irredeemable. Assume that what you post could be shared and read by anyone. Remember that privacy settings cannot guarantee that something you post will not be publicly visible.

Protect your professionalism and reputation
Social media can blur the boundaries between the personal and professional. It is important to assume that anything posted online is visible to all. As when communicating outside of social media, you should remain polite, respectful, and avoid using language that others may reasonably consider to be inappropriate or offensive.

Expressions made in a personal capacity can be connected to your practice as an architect. If you are unsure whether to post something and the bearing it may have on your professional reputation, you should consider how it might be viewed in the context of you being an architect. If you think something could be viewed as inappropriate or offensive, you should reconsider posting it.

You should consider who and what you associate with on social media. Bear in mind that actively acknowledging another user’s post could imply that you endorse their views. If you have used social media for a number of years it is important to consider if anything you have posted in the past may affect your current standing in relation to the Code.

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