The internet and social media provide ample opportunities for our enemies - and sometimes our friends - to cause trouble for us.
They also provide ample opportunities for us to make everything worse, very quickly.
How we react to problems arising online and in social media environments is critical to the management of our brand image, and political success. If you are active in social media, you must be aware of these procedures, and follow them.Spotting a problem
It is important to identify what uses of the UKIP name or brand are detrimental to the interests of the party, and which are just fair political comment. While discussion of our brand in a somewhat critical vein may be perfectly valid, especially from our political opponents, there are other occasions when the UKIP brand is used in an unfairly disparaging manner.
For example, a journalist writing critically of UKIP on Twitter does not necessarily require remedial action. This coverage is subjective and as long as it does not deliberately lie or seek to deceive then it is simply a point of view that we may choose to ignore. Remember - people are entitled to have opinions that differ from ours, and to have them challenged politely. Disagreeing with us does not make them deserving of abuse.
On the other hand, if outright lies and inaccurate claims about UKIP are made, action may need to be taken - for example, if someone is frequently falsifying UKIP's position on a policy issue or making libellous claims about UKIP individuals.How we should respond
It is important that UKIP does two things in terms of action against those who use social media to attempt to damage our party.
Firstly, that we do not give extra attention and prominence to damaging claims about the party, by whipping up a storm around them.
Secondly, that we are made aware of the claims and can then act in a manner that seeks to protect UKIP, minimising the damage while not exacerbating any potential problem.
It is therefore important that you, as a UKIP social media user, notify any false, misleading or inaccurate portrayals of UKIP to the Head of Online Engagement who can then deal with it in a managed way, in co-ordination with the web team and/or the Party Chairman.
It is important that any reply the party makes is thought-out and professional, whilst dealing with the problem at hand. Your cooperation can help us ensure this process is followed through, and our brand is protected.What you should do
As a UKIP supporter on social media, you are as much of a guardian of our brand as anything else - we rely on you to spot problems as they arise, and help us minimise them.
Please help us take any appropriate action against those attempting to damage us - not by drawing attention to what they are saying, or reacting angrily, but by making us aware of what is being said so that appropriate and effective action can be taken in a calm, professional manner.
- Keep your eye out for misleading facts or accusations which might damage the party. This includes postings by other UKIP members which could cause harm or get out of hand.
- When you spot them, ask yourself: if I respond to this, will it stop the problem or exacerbate it? Might more people get the wrong idea?
- If you can simply and politely correct the falsehood, and that will be accepted by the person/people who originated it, do so. But don't take any risks.
- Whether you have responded or not, notify the party at once.
- Cooperate with the party in any remedial strategy that's then put into place.