In celebration of its first ever Social Media Week, the Hong Kong Council of PR Firms issued these guidelines for operation in social media. Reprinted from their PDF, for the love of China:
Social media is now of necessity an integral part of any organization’s communications planning, and is growing in reach and impact. Even as new dynamics and platforms evolve, the Council of Public Relations Firms of Hong Kong (CPRFHK) has identified some enduring principles for engagement via social media, and has produced these guidelines for marketers, agencies and individuals to use as a benchmark for their online behavior.
CPRFHK has a Code of Ethics http://www.cprfhk.org/files/Ethics.pdf and this document is not intended to re-invent professional standards for our industry. Indeed, many of the ethical standards from off-line communications are equally relevant on-line, but there are also new dynamics that need to be addressed with a new perspective.
Truthfulness: Respect the truth and do not disseminate false or misleading information knowingly or recklessly, and use proper care to avoid doing so inadvertently.
Transparency: Be clear about which clients and which side of any issue you represent, and when you have paid for endorsements, content or services. Identify who you are and what your affiliation is in any online conversation.
Personal and organizational responsibility: Be aware that you are responsible for any and content you create and transmit, including your opinions and use of content. Be aware that you represent both the firm you work for, and your firm’s clients, even when you are not explicitly commenting on business matters. Your three online “identities” are inextricable.
Confidentiality: Respect the confidentiality of clients and other sources of information. Don’t disclose information anonymously or use it for any other purpose than that for which it was provided.
Legality: Obey all copyright laws and other standards that apply to both the off- and on-line worlds.
Play by the rules: Adhere to the terms of service for any social media platform on which you interact, as well as any specific guidelines your firm may have in place. This includes not spamming databases, and respecting the usual ways to engage users online through official fan pages and groups.
Respect: Online, apply at least the minimum standards for offline courtesy, politeness and appropriateness. For example, don’t Tweet excessively, or use an overly personal tone in business communications.
These guidelines will be periodically revisited. Please send any comments or suggestions to