Kennel Club
Social Media Code of Conduct

The Kennel Club has published a Code of Conduct to remind exhibitors and competitors of their responsibilities whilst taking part in all canine activities and also when discussing shows and events online.
Whilst the Kennel Club believes that the overwhelming majority of people taking part in dog activities do so in a responsible and sportsmanlike manner, it is concerned at the increasing number of complaints which it has received about incidents of abuse, in particular through the negative use of social media.
The guidance offered in the new Code of Conduct is included to help ensure that everyone participating in dog activities is free to do so in an enjoyable and fun way, especially the dogs themselves. The code is intended for use primarily as a guide, but does outline some of the penalties which the Kennel Club has at its disposal to deal with serious cases of transgression. As such, it should be read in conjunction with relevant regulations as listed in the Kennel Club Year Book.
Over recent years, there has been a rapid growth in the use of social media as a form of instant communication and there is a need for those who use Facebook, blogs and chat rooms etc to understand their responsibilities. For this reason, there is a specific section within the Code of Conduct giving general guidelines on participation on social media websites.

Use of social media

The rapid growth of social media technologies combined with their ease of use and pervasiveness make them attractive channels of communication. However, these tools also hold the possibility of a host of unintended consequences. To help you identify and avoid potential issues the Kennel Club have provided some examples of best practices which are intended to help you understand, from a wide range of perspectives, the implications of participation in social media.

Maintain privacy

Do not post confidential or proprietary information. Do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media site without their permission. As a guideline, do not post anything that you would not present in any public forum. Ask yourself, would I want to see this published in the newspaper or posted on a billboard tomorrow or 10 years from now? space for describing your block. Any text will do. Description for this block. You can use this space for describing your block.

Does it pass the privacy test

If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone, or in another medium, it will not be acceptable for a social networking site.

Think before you post

There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after the publication date. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s wise to delay posting until you are calm and clear-headed.

Understand your personal responsibility

You are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs or any other form of user-generated content. Be mindful that what you publish will be public for a long time—protect your privacy.

Be aware of liability

You are responsible for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Individual bloggers have been held liable for commentary deemed to be copyright infringement, defamatory, proprietary, libelous, or obscene (as defined by the courts). Be sure that what you post today will not come back to haunt you.

Be accurate

Make sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify information with a source first than to have to post a correction or retraction later

Correct mistakes

If you make a mistake, admit it. Be upfront and be quick with your correction. If you’re posting to a blog, you may choose to modify an earlier post—just make it clear that you have done so.

Respect others

You are more likely to achieve your goals or sway others to your beliefs if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.

Respect your audience

Don’t use personal insults, obscenity, also show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for topics that may be considered sensitive. Users are free to discuss topics and disagree with one another, but be respectful of others’ opinions. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with a concept or person.

Take the high ground

Remember that you’re most likely to build a high-quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly. Don’t pick fights online.

Clarification of the operation of the Kennel Club social media policy

Following the publication of the Social Media Policy as part of the introduction of its new Code of Conduct, the Kennel Club would like to clarify the intended operation of this policy in relation to the use of social media.
Within the Kennel Club Code of Conduct is a separate section entitled ‘Use of social media’. This section is intended as a general guidance policy with a simple message reminding users of social media that they should treat other people with the same courtesy as they would wish to be treated. There is a minority who currently use the distance and/or anonymity of online interaction to insult or offend others. Some of the complaints received have given us an indication of how a small minority is hurting all of us by indulging in what can only be described as spiteful, time wasting and very disappointing conduct.
However, the Kennel Club, along with many other companies and governing bodies, has no direct remit or authority to censor material on the internet, or to censure those involved. It is presently unable to intervene directly, except in certain serious circumstances, where the person involved holds some official capacity recognised by the Kennel Club such as an approved judge, and their conduct is considered to incompatible with their standing.
Breed clubs may feel able to apply the social media guidance to officials and members at club level and through their own internal procedures, and request that inappropriate content be removed and not repeated. Through this option, it is hoped that peer pressure might prevail within individual breeds as to what is and is not acceptable when discussing either people or dogs online.
If necessary, and in appropriate cases a complainant may need to seek the advice and protection of the law, particularly in cases of extreme harassment or defamation.
Ultimately the most effective and practical way to deal with offending material is simply not to read it and to remove those seeking to offend or insult from Facebook pages or groups and never to engage in exchanges which you feel are inappropriate either to yourself or dogs in general.

Further information can be found on the Kennel Club website