Social Media and Ethics
The use of social media is only increasing, and more and more health professionals are using social media to help promote their practice and attract clients. The benefits of social media are clear, but Registered Massage Therapists (RMTs/MTs) should be mindful of the unique challenges that regulated health professionals face when using social media. While it is a valuable tool for RMTs and clients, there are some risks, including the potential to breach privacy and confidentiality, cross professional boundaries, and improperly advertise.
The Code of Ethics can help guide RMTs’ social media decisions, particularly Principle 4: Be Responsible and Accountable. Principle 4 states, among other considerations, that RMTs:
- conduct themselves with personal and professional integrity at all times;
- responsibly use electronic communication, social media and other forms of digital technology;
- do not participate in any form of conduct, advertising or promotion that discredits or reflects poorly on the profession or breaches public trust and confidence; and
- demonstrate the integrity and professionalism expected of an RMT as a regulated health professional.
This means that RMTs should:
- Take steps to separate their personal and professional social media accounts.
- Regardless of where RMTs post (i.e., on a personal page with privacy settings enabled or a professional page), always be mindful of what they post online. As regulated health professionals, RMTs are seen as trusted professionals. Before posting anything online, RMTs should consider how their posts may be received by the public, and whether it contains false or misleading information.
- Never discuss client information via social media.
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that any social media account associated with their practice (e.g., a clinic’s Facebook page) is used with professionalism.
- Take reasonable steps to avoid the use of testimonials and disable this function where possible.
CMTO is working to develop more specific social media guidance for RMTs and will share updates in the future.