In September 2016 Grand Lodge adopted specific recommendations concerning social media, agreeing on a social media policy, available online at www.ugle.org.uk or from the Grand Secretary’s office.
Recently. It has become clear the policy is either not sufficiently understood or is not being practised. The Board accordingly reminds the Grand Lodge, by repeating the policy below so that users of Masonic social networks may not later plead ignorance of it.
Social Media Policy Social media platforms are now top-rated channels of communication, providing users with a vehicle to share content with a much broader audience, than before. Social media platforms have become useful tools for sharing details about Freemasonry. This powerful tool should, however, be used cautiously. Not adhering to the social media policy could result in damaging Freemasonry’s public image and on Freemasonry itself. The social media policy has been written to advise Freemasons on how to use the platform within due bounds.
Digital Ambassadorship It is important to note that any interactions a Freemason has on social media may be visible to anyone in the world. While it is possible to restrict the audience of one’s posts, it is not possible to control how others will react to them. A private post can be shared and reposted publicly by anyone who has access to it. Even if an original post is deleted or edited, someone could already have shared it in its original form. As far as social media is concerned, everything one does or says is recorded permanently, and there is no such thing as a genuinely private post.
Acting as an ambassador for Freemasonry online is part of a Freemason’s duty, and is within the scope of Rule 179 of the Book of Constitutions which states that a Freemason "has a duty not to engage in activity which may bring Freemasonry into disrepute". Rules (public and Masonic) and expectations that apply to one’s daily conduct apply equally within the digital sphere, as comments may be taken out of context and used as representative of the views of the United Grand Lodge of England.
Below is a list of behaviours and topics to avoid when posting on social media. These apply to personal accounts, as well as to accounts that individual Freemasons may manage on behalf of a Lodge, Province, District, or other Masonic entity. They apply to any Freemason who is identifiable as a Freemason online, whether he is posting in Masonic or non-Masonic channels. This list is not comprehensive but is intended to act as an introductory guide to topics or behaviours that are inappropriate for posting to an audience on social media.
When posting on social media platforms, a Freemason must not:
(a) produce, link to, or refer to any content that is illegal, defamatory, or likely to offend others
(b) cause or contribute to any hostile or unproductive arguments, or carry on any private piques or quarrels (that is to say, a good-natured debate is healthy, but one should be prepared to abandon the exchange if it ceases to be friendly)
(c) discuss or allude to any of the Masonic Signs, Tokens, or Words.
(d) claim to speak for any Masonic body (e.g. a Lodge, a Province or District, a charity or committee, or UGLE) on whose behalf he is not expressly authorised to speak (for instance, membership of a Lodge in London does not give one the authority to speak on behalf of Metropolitan Grand Lodge)
(e) identify anyone else as a Freemason without his express consent
(f) refer to any personal information about any Freemason without his express consent (such as address, telephone number, or anything else covered by the Data Protection Act 1998; see link
(g) attempt to use Masonic channels as a vehicle for personal profit, or for any other form of self-promotion
(h) Attack the United Grand Lodge of England or any other legitimate Masonic authority.
Best Practice A Freemason may publicly share any Masonic content that contributes to a positive public image of Freemasonry, such as charitable work and events, good causes supported by Freemasons, and information about Masonic history.
Social media channels can also be used to share information only relevant to Freemasons, but care should be exercised to use a more restricted channel, such as a closed or “secret” Facebook group. Topics that might be discussed here include:
(a) discussions about Masonic allegory and symbolism (as long as there is no mention of any Masonic Signs, Tokens, or Words)
(b) background information about other Masonic Orders (as long as it does not ruin the experience for those who are not members)
(c) unusual visits to other Lodges (e.g. for a special ceremony).
When posting about non-Masonic subjects, it is important to remember to adhere to the guidelines outlined in the Digital Ambassadorship section above.
COPYRIGHT PROVINCIAL GRAND LODGE OF YORKSHIRE, WEST RIDING 2018