Have you taken photos with clients to post on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter?

Perhaps you’ve shared screenshots from a webinar you attended or a joint video meeting that you were part of. Many financial planners and other professionals are using this strategy in order to boost their social media profiles and add valuable, authentic, people-centric content. This is a great idea and we ran it past Tim Slatter, who runs a communication agency for financial advisers.

“One of the first things we encourage financial planners to do when revamping their online brand is to bring in more people value. We see so many pictures of buildings, fancy pens and handshaking, on adviser websites – and these disconnect the reader from the value proposition.” Slatter went on to say that the more authentic the images can be, the better. However, he added, “it’s important to always have consent from the people in the pictures. Tagging them online is a great way to ensure that they are aware and are included in the conversation. If you can’t tag them, send them a link and ask for their feedback.”

At Crux, we recently read a communication from the Information Regulator, warning against the processing of personal information of data subjects without their consent. It said the following:

The Information Regulator notes with concern the photographs of former President Jacob Zuma distributed through social media taken at a facility of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). As such the Regulator has since sent a letter to the DCS requesting for the departmental measures that are in place to safeguard and prevent loss and unlawful access of personal information, such as photographs of new inmates. The Regulator has also requested the current status on this matter and the steps that the DCS have taken to mitigate any alleged breach.

The Regulator reminds the public that photographs clearly identifying an individual are regarded as personal information in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act, and that distribution of such material is regarded as processing of personal information in terms of the Act. The Act prohibits the distribution of personal information without the consent of the individual that is being identified in the item being distributed.

We urge the public to be informed about the rights of individuals in so far as the law is concerned and not engage in action that violates another person’s rights or the provisions of the Act through distribution of personal information without consent of the data subject.

The Regulator expects that the necessary corrective action will be taken by the Department of Correctional Services to ensure that those found to be in breach of the law are held accountable and that similar breaches of the law are not repeated.

As social media becomes the new way of communicating, make sure you have the correct consent from your clients to engage with content that may include, or infringe, on their POPI rights.