In the Mix

Facebook Comments Could Violate Code of Ethics

Q. I have an account on Facebook so that I can interact with friends and clients. Recently, one of my Realtor friends posted a status that said her real estate company was the best and that certain other real estate companies were “horrible”, “going under” and “terrible” among other things. This started an avalanche of comments from Realtors with other companies. Is there anything wrong with saying things like that on a social networking site? I agreed with some of the comments, but I did not post anything yet.

A: This is becoming more and more of an issue as more Realtors are interacting on social networking sites. As a Realtor, we abide by a strict Code of Ethics. What this Realtor did (and those who commented) directly violates Standard of Practice 15-2 of our Code of Ethics, which reads:

“The obligation to refrain from making false or misleading statements about competitors’ businesses and competitors’ business practices includes the duty to not knowingly or recklessly repeat, retransmit, or republish false or misleading statements made by others. This duty applies whether false or misleading statements are repeated in person, in writing, by technological means (e.g., the Internet), or by any other means.” (Adopted 1/07)

In short, a Realtor should NEVER disparage another Realtor or broker, verbally or in writing. Aside from it violating the Code of Ethics (which is very serious), it also makes you look unprofessional. Although it can be hard sometimes, always maintain your dignity and professionalism even when others aren’t.