APA’s websites and social media accounts allow users to submit comments and posts on forums, blogs, and other means of electronic communication. Users must comply with the following guidelines.
- Guideline 1: Users agree to comply with all applicable U.S. law, as well as agree not to use the forum for illegal purposes, including but not limited to defamation, violation of intellectual property laws, violation of antitrust or unfair competition laws, or violation of criminal laws.
- Guideline 1.1: It is usually acceptable to include a link to an article, while copying and pasting the actual text of the article may be in violation of copyright laws.
- Guideline 1.2: Professional associations such as the APA are, almost by definition, a group of competitors that has come together to pursue common interest. Where those common interests involve agreements on such terms of competition as rates charged, salaries paid, and standards applicable to members of the profession, the antitrust laws apply. Do not post any material that: 1. References specific fees charged or paid for professional services; 2. Discusses prices, discounts, terms or conditions of sale with regard to medical suppliers or other vendors or terms and conditions of provider agreements relating to reimbursement levels, bonus payments, and other price or cost-related items; 3. Addresses salaries or terms of employment; 4. Attempts to allocate patient markets or encourage collective or coercive activity with regard to third party payers, hospitals, other health care providers, or suppliers; 5. Includes information that could otherwise be construed to impose a restraint on trade and inhibit free and fair competition; 6. Encourages or helps members to arrive at any agreement that either expressly or impliedly leads to price fixing, a boycott of another’s business, or other conduct intended to illegally restrict free trade; 7. Encourages or facilitates an agreement about prices, discounts, or terms or conditions of sale; salaries; profits, profit margins, or cost data; market shares, sales territories, or markets; allocation of customers or territories; or selection, rejection, or termination of customers or supplier.
- Guideline 2: Users agree to avoid personal attacks and characterizations that question a person’s motives, qualifications, or attributes. Abusive, profane, and threatening language is strictly prohibited.
- Guideline 2.1: Keep criticism on an objective basis that is factually verifiable. Robust debate is encouraged. Personal commentary about character, competence or motive of another person is prohibited. Because negative statements that impugn someone’s professional qualifications can cause substantial economic and emotional harm, this is an area for careful scrutiny. Remember that false statements that harm someone’s reputation can be actionable as libel.
- Guideline 3: Users agree to not intentionally interfere with or disrupt other forum members, network services, or network equipment. This includes distribution of unsolicited advertisement or chain letters, and the propagation of computer worms or viruses.
- Guideline 4: Users agree not to use the Listserv for commercial purposes, including all advertising, marketing, solicitation of business, vending, attempting to sell or promote products or services.
- Guideline 4.1: Avoid any posts which include advertisements for products or services, news of job listings or position openings, and direct solicitation of other users to purchase products or services.
- Guideline 6: Users agree to comply fully with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and applicable state and federal privacy laws. The forums are not the appropriate place to discuss individual patient cases.