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New SABS standard for using social media in emergencies

Home Business Management Disaster Management New SABS standard for using social media in emergencies

ACCORDING to Jodi Scholtz, Lead Administrator for the SABS, guidelines to help companies, public institutions and citizens use social media during times of emergencies and crises is critical. As such, the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS) has adopted the ISO 22329 standard: Security and Resilience – Emergency Management – Guidelines for the use of social media in emergencies.

“Sharing authentic information can save lives. 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 harm,” says Scholtz.

“SANS/ISO 22329: Security and Resilience – Emergency Management – Guidelines for the use of social media in emergencies, provides the guidelines to use social media when dealing with emergencies, crisis situations or potential threats to the public.”

Scholtz advises that the standard should be implemented by every corporate and public institution.

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. This 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 other incidents that have an impact on citizens.

“Organisations and citizens that rely on social media need to be aware that every digital social media channel is owned by organisation and that they need to impose their own terms of use and privacy guidelines,” says Scholtz.

SANS/ISO 22329 provides practical guidelines that outlines 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.

The standard can be implemented easily as the framework for implementation is provided. The document contains various Annexures that provide information and guidelines.

Annexure A of the document provides information on the type of social media and related channels that currently exist; Annexure B provides a quality management checklist for content that is being posted and monitored; Annexure C presents an example of a plan to disseminate content before, during and after an emergency; and Annexure D provides guidelines to citizen’s on using and interacting with social media.

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

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