NASW welcomes your voice — please read our message about Instagram

NASW Welcomes your voice (003)

NASW recently turned off comments on Instagram after receiving several inflammatory and inaccurate comments from some followers.

After reviewing that decision, we realize that this was not the best step to take. We inadvertently silenced a discussion to handle a few malicious posts, and in doing so, completely took social workers out of an active conversation. This was a mistake, and we are working on how in the future we can moderate discussions in ways that targets posts that are explicitly trolling while not silencing passionate and heartfelt responses to important issues.

Social work was built on collaboration, and on our social media platforms, we are committed to adhering to the Code of Ethics in all of our interactions. The NASW Code of Ethics states: Social workers should treat colleagues with respect and should represent accurately and fairly the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues.

Online harassment or cyber-bullying is a violation of the Code of Ethics. We recognize that this means we shouldn’t stop discussions when they become heated, but rather try and single out posts that cross a line from posts that convey messages that might be controversial.

Constructive comments addressing NASW as an organization, addressing the social work profession, or other systems as a whole are welcome and demonstrate our commitment to our ethics.

We do retain the right to block followers or disable comments when a follower is in violation of our Instagram/Facebook terms of conduct (e.g.   personalized insults, threats, or language that is intended to demean).

Our intent in  blocking users or comments is to protect our communities, when we take this action it is not intended as a silencing tool to limit criticism. For the safety and mental health of our staff, we have and will disable comments as needed.

We welcome and need a healthy dialogue. Please give us your feedback to media@socialworkers.org.

9 comments

  1. Nathan Stephens

    I am curious if you are familiar with the history of NASW as it relates to NABSW? In essence why the latter was deemed necessary in the first place? Unfortunately, the responses of NASW including this one, are eerily similar to the ones made in 1968. In the current socio-economic and socio-political climate , it is absolutely essential that NASW get this right.

  2. I’m unaware of the specific comments that were referenced but when I saw this post, I initially thought it was a call for guest posts from Social Workers across the country. I think that would help in opening up dialogue about a variety of issues that we see working in the community. I think that is a step in the right direction.

  3. There were NO malicious posts that I saw. Only posts rightfully questioning the NASW’s positions on Policing and other matters. You don’t get to call yourselves allies of BLM, or anti-racist, and at the same time silence respectful dissent from Black NASW members. I call that bullshxt.

    • Good afternoon:

      Thanks for your comment. We monitor our social media channels. We saw malicious posts and removed them. If you care to have a conversation with us about the matter we would be happy to hear from you. Just email me to set up a time.

      Take care,

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager
      gwright.nasw@socialworkers.org

  4. This is a far cry from what you could be doing to address your errors. Do you realize your apology falls flat when you name call? This is Social Work 101! The black social worker you blocked was not “malicious”, “trolling” or “cyber-bullying”. And you passive aggressively stating so and passively threatening her with violation of the Code of Ethics is PATHETIC. Are real social workers even running NASW?
    Stop with the insincere apologies and address the issue. It’s far from secret that the social work profession is rooted in oppression (hello? Eugenics?). Now, tell us what NASW is going to do to right that. That’s it. That’s the question. We’re listening.

    • Good afternoon Ms. Doerfler:

      Thanks for taking time to comment and we are sorry you do not agree with our apology. You are correct — the social work profession has sometimes been on the wrong side in history. However, NASW has a long history of fighting oppression and seeking equal rights for people who are Black, African American, living with a disability, female or LGBTQ. We have done it a long time and will continue to do so. I invite you to email me directly and have a conversation so I can hear more about your views and connect you to staff at NASW so you can learn more about our activities and point you to resources that will give you a better understanding of our mission.

      Thank you,

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager
      gwright.nasw@socialworkers.org

  5. Hello,

    Thank you for this response.

    A suggestion is to have social workers run the Instagram page. It was announced that social workers are not running this page. We come with empathy, ability to respond sensitively, and turning words into action.

    Open your profile to more guest posting. Make your organization on social media more human, more relatable. It often feels as if we are spoken to, rather than spoken with. Invite people to submit topics for social, send in pictures, issues they want to raise awareness too. Make this an organization that represents the workers, not the name.

    Ultimately your actions recently have shown how personally you take words, which as special workers we’re invited to see the meaning behind those words and check our defensiveness. This is a step, but you need to make critical changes like the ones above.

    • Good afternoon Ms. Welch:

      Thanks for the thoughtful comments and suggestions. We appreciate them and will definitely take them in to consideration. Please feel free to send suggested content, including topics, pictures and issues we should cover, to media@socialworkers.org.

      Take care,

      Greg Wright
      NASW Public Relations Manager

    • Great suggestion, Bethany! Thank you for your constructive feedback!

      Valerie Arendt, MSW, MPP
      Executive Director
      NASW North Carolina

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