ABA Social Media Policy

I. Purpose and Scope of ABA Member Social Media Policy

The ABA encourages the use of social media to build relationships with members and potential members, to engage and educate lawyers and the public about legal issues, and to advocate on behalf of the Association for the benefit of the profession and the public. In order to maximize the effectiveness of social media to fulfill the ABA’s missions and goals while continuing to provide ABA Members the flexibility to use social media on behalf of the ABA and its related entities, this ABA Member Social Media Policy (“Member Social Media Policy”) establishes guidelines for ABA Members (as well as all others except ABA Staff) who use ABA social media profiles (defined below as “Official ABA Profiles” and “Additional ABA Profiles,” all referred to together as “ABA Profiles”).

Communications on an ABA Profile are business communications that reflect upon the ABA as an organization representing the legal profession. Members are expected to exercise care to protect the ABA from liability and reputational harm. This policy applies to those ABA Members (and non-members) participating on social media profiles set up in the name of the ABA, and/or the name of any of its sections, divisions, forums, task forces, committees, commissions, or subcommittees (each an “ABA Entity” and collectively “ABA Entities”). The ABA Board of Governors approved a separate social media policy applicable to ABA employees (“ABA Staff”) on January 25, 2019.

Each ABA Entity may create additional policies applicable to itself, consistent with these broad guidelines.

II. Guidelines and Procedures

  • • Each ABA Entity may have one main Entity-specific profile on each social media platform it chooses (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) These constitute “Official ABA Profiles.” o All Official ABA Profiles are listed at https://www.americanbar.org/about_the_aba/communities/.
  • o Official ABA Profiles must be set up through ABA Staff, with a member of ABA Staff being responsible for the relevant ABA Entity (or such ABA Staff member’s designee) and serving as the administrator of the respective pages.
  • o Each Official ABA Profile must be linked to an ABA Staff email address in addition to any member email address provided.
    • • There also are or may be social media profiles that are not Official ABA Profiles, but that are actively used by ABA members for member-run ABA-related communication and discussion (“Additional ABA Profiles”). o If possible on the social media platform, each Additional ABA Profile should contain the following disclaimer: “For official ABA policy statements, please see the [Official ABA Profile] for the ABA Office of the President.”
    • o In addition to following the guidelines in this policy, entities creating and using Additional ABA Profiles may implement their own guidelines to govern these accounts, such as requiring the committee page owner to give a list of passwords to an ABA Staff member or designee or to the Technology Committee of that Entity.
    • • The ABA encourages participation on ABA Profiles on platforms such as LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter: o Submitting proposed posts, promotions, meeting announcements, tweets, etc. to ABA Staff for posting by ABA Staff on Official ABA Profiles, and
    • o Commenting on, sharing, or re-tweeting posts on both Official ABA Profiles and Additional ABA Profiles.
  • • Participation on ABA Profiles is subject to the ABA’s policy against endorsing the products and services of third-parties (Endorsement Policy), and the ABA Business Conduct Standards (ABA Business Conduct Standards.)
  • • Any ABA Profile that has been inactive for a period of one hundred eighty (180) days (a “Ghost Account”) is subject to deletion by ABA Staff, after an inquiry to the Profile asking if it is still active. If the owner or manager of the Ghost Account does not respond to such an inquiry within thirty (30) days, the ABA Social Media Manager may ask the social media platform’s sponsor to take down the page as it is not condoned by the ABA and does not represent the ABA or its active members.
  • • The posting of any offensive, defamatory or other objectionable material, in the ABA’s discretion, may also lead to the initiation of an inquiry by ABA Staff to the owner and/or manager as well as the Member posting the material (if the poster is an ABA Member). Failure to respond to such inquiry expeditiously and in a manner that is satisfactory to the ABA could result in the ABA Social Media Manager’s request of the platform’s sponsor to take down the page or posting, as well as action against the ABA Member (if applicable) who made the improper posting, in accordance with the ABA Business Conduct Standards.
  • • The ABA will make any social media training it develops for ABA Staff available to ABA Members upon request to the ABA Social Media Manager.

III. Related Policies

Social Media Policy applicable to ABA Staff, approved January 25, 2019.