SOCIAL MEDIA GUIDELINES
The General Service Conference (GSO) of AA compiles Guidelines for its members. As the “only requirement” of AA is the desire to stop drinking, AA Guidelines are just suggestions and come from the shared experiences of members.
There are AA Guidelines regarding the Internet, and social media is specifically addressed. According to the Eleventh Tradition of AA, “names and pictures of AA members ought not be broadcast, filmed, or publicly printed. The Guidelines state that, “As long as individuals do not identify themselves as AA members, there is no conflict of interest.” Therefore, AA suggests that people do not identify themselves as members of AA on any social networking sites, or anywhere else online that isn’t a password-protected forum for AA members only.
The Conference of AA in South Africa neither endorses nor opposes the use of social media; however we do recognise the need for caution when using it. The Conference has put forward the following suggestions for the safety of AA members in regards to the use of Social Media:
1) When using social media, AA members are responsible for their own anonymity and that of others. When we post, text, or blog, we should assume that we are publishing at the public level. When we break our anonymity in these forums, we may inadvertently break the anonymity of others
2) A member of AA should not join or start any group with “Alcoholics Anonymous” in its name, even if there is a disclaimer. If starting a group consider using an alternative name such as “Friends of Bill”
3) If a member should choose to join a group for people in recovery then such person should not disclose his or her status as a member of AA, talking in general terms about meetings, recovery and Steps.
4) A member of AA should not post a message on someone’s “wall” regarding meetings, AA Thanksgivings, sobriety or AA.
5) Members are encouraged not to post pictures from AA functions or meetings, with other people in them. If such photos are published then permission should be sort from the people concerned. These people should not be “tagged” or identified and the picture should only be viewable in “closed pages” by friends in the fellowship.
6) Should a Member should choose to “out” him/herself on their profile page, then they should ensure that the page is only accessible to their friends and not to the general public.
7) When creating an AA related “event” on a site, make sure that it is private so that invitees do not have their anonymity broken if they reply. Make the guest list of an AA related events hidden.
8) It is advised that members do not divulge personal information to people they may have just met online. Regardless of how reasonable or genuine the request seems.
9) Be aware that personal privacy settings can be removed or re-set when accepting add-ons or upgrades.
10) If you are not sure of the privacy settings or workings of a social networking site either leave or seek advice.
11) The same principle that applies in our traditional groups should apply on line: “Who you see here, what you hear here, let it stay here.”
12) In addition to these guidelines, members are encouraged to read the following guidelines: