Jeremy McGovern

Reputations Suffer When Facebook Goes Awry

Among social media sites, Facebook far and away is the most popular among farriers. In part, this popularity is based on two benefits of Facebook: promoting businesses on a local level and discussing footcare with peers on an international stage. But there is a responsibility to conduct oneself as a professional on Facebook to protect that business.

While reading The Forge, the official magazine of the British Farrier and Blacksmiths Association, I came across a warning from David Greenwood about professionalism while engaging in social media. The registrar of the United Kingdom’s Farriers Registration Council (FRC) recalls a 2014 issue in which a farrier posted a comment to a popular social media site (unnamed by Greenwood) that appeared to advocate abuse of a horse. 

Due to the firestorm of negative responses to the comment, this matter was reviewed by the FRC. Disciplinary action was taken because it was determined that the farrier had violated the council’s professional conduct code. 

“The FRC will not tolerate online bullying, harassment and offensive comments,” says Greenwood.

Lack Of Oversight 

These steps taken by the FRC may seem overbearing to United States farriers. After all, there is no governing body of farriery in this country. However, the absence of a regulatory council doesn’t mean U.S. farriers are free from legal trouble caused by social media gaffs. In general, posting something deemed defamatory could lead to a libel case. 

For example, what if a farrier posts that a peer cripples more horses than he or she…

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Jeremy_mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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