Legal Blog - Standards and Ethics


Avoiding Pitfalls in the World of Social Media

Sep 16, 2016

Standards and Ethics

Keeping In Line While Going Online:
Avoiding Pitfalls in the World of Social Media

By Sarah Petcher, NVAR General Counsel

Social media has become a new medium through which Realtors® can reach broader audiences and potential clients. Many Realtors® have a Facebook page, use Twitter and LinkedIn or write a blog. As your use of these technologies expands, it is very important to keep in mind a few do’s and don’ts.

Question: Are there rules for Realtors® that apply to blogs, Facebook and other similar interactive Web sites?

Answer: If you operate a blog, be mindful of the following: While there is some case law indicating that bloggers are not liable for information posted by third parties on their blogs, NAR has taken a different approach. A new Standard of Practice, SOP 15-3 states:

“The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors, competitors’ businesses, and competitors’ business practices includes the duty to publish a clarification about or to remove statements made by others on electronic media the Realtor® controls once the Realtor® knows the statement is false or misleading.” (Adopted 1/10)

As a Realtor®, you therefore have a higher level of duty than a member of the public. If you operate a blog, you must delete false or misleading comments or publish clarifications about them as soon as you have determined they are false or misleading.
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