Social media SANS adopted

Social media SANS adopted

The South African Bureau of Standards (SABS), through its technical committee, has adopted the ISO 22329 standard that provides guidance on the use of social media during an emergency or crisis.

The standard underwent a public enquiry stage and was adopted and published as South African National Standard (SANS) 22329 in June 2022.

“The need for guidelines in using social media to help South Africans during times of emergencies and crises is critical. With the recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal, the July 2021 riots and the national state of disaster during Covid-19, the sharing of authentic information can literally save lives,” says Jodi Scholtz, the lead administrator of SABS.

“Social media has the potential to deliver information to large groups of people, quickly – however, there is also the risk that if it is not managed correctly, it can cause more harm. SANS/ISO 22329: Security and Resilience – Emergency Management – Guidelines for the use of social media in emergencies provides the guidelines in using social media when dealing with emergencies, crisis situations or even potential threats to the public.”

Scholtz explains that SANS/ISO 22329 should be implemented by every corporate and public institution in South Africa. The standard sets out the guidelines for organisations to ensure that they have strong strategies, plans, and personnel in place to deal effectively with situations as they arise.

SANS/ISO 22329 is the first standard in South Africa that provides a framework for organisations and the public to interact, disseminate information, and provide critical information during emergencies such as security, climate, health, or any incidents that have an impact on the country’s citizens.

“Coupled with the risk of fake news and misinformation, there has been an increased use of social media channels in the last few years. Organisations and citizens that rely on social media need to be aware that every digital social media channel is ‘owned’ by organisations and impose their own terms of use and privacy guidelines. SANS/ISO 22329 provides practical guidelines that outline the responsibility of organisations to ensure that content is verified, planned, and monitored. The benefits and risks of reaching stakeholders via social media are outlined in the national standard and SABS believes that every organisation should refer to this standard in the compiling and implementing of communication strategies,” says Scholtz.

SANS/ISO 22329 (2022): Security and Resilience – Emergency Management – Guidelines for the use of social media in emergencies is available for purchase via the SABS webstore.

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