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Social media tips for staying on the right side of the law

To avoid expensive, time-consuming and embarrassing errors, social media writers and bloggers need to understand the law, the Realtor® Code of Ethics and general “rules of the road” for using social media.

Start with the basics:

Understand the difference between facts and opinions

– opinions are far more likely to create legal trouble if you go too far.

Don’t make negative statements about the competition, other real estate companies or affiliated professionals such as lenders and appraisers

- False or inaccurate comments violate the Code of Ethics, and even true statements may be subject to different interpretations.

Include a disclaimer in your blog

– something like: “The opinions expressed on this blog are my personal opinions, and they don’t reflect those of my company.”

Don’t violate copyrights

- It’s easy to cut-and-paste a photo from another website – but unless you have permission to do so, you may be violating U.S. copyright law. Just because material exists on the internet doesn’t mean it’s in the public domain. Even when you do get permission, it’s a good practice to attribute the information and mention the source in your blog.

Give a true picture

- It’s important to follow the Code of Ethics requirement in writing and provide a true picture in marketing. Don’t use Photoshop on a listing photo, for example, to remove unsightly utility poles or exaggerate a property’s virtues.

Negative comments

- It’s important to have a review mechanism to prevent obscene, threatening, racist or sexist remarks from showing up. While some types of remarks should never be allowed on your site, however, it’s usually a mistake to block or delete negative comments.

July 1, 2020.Realtor Magazine. Avoid Social Media’s Legal and Ethical Pitfalls.

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