Social media moderation policy and community guidelines

Updated December 2023

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) hosts numerous discussion venues for AVMA members, other veterinary professionals and members of the general public interested in veterinary medicine and animal health. Your participation is subject to this policy, the AVMA Websites Agreement & Terms of Use, and the Privacy Policy.

Our discussion and social media venues are open, and we welcome collegial discussion in them. But they also are intended to be professional and family-friendly. So please keep your comments and posts clean, and please be respectful of the rights of others to hold and express their own opinions.

While it is not our intention to ever ban individuals from our pages, if we believe content violates this policy or our terms of use, we reserve the right to remove that content and may warn or block the offending user. The following activities or types of posts may be removed, and the offending user may be given a warning or may be banned, depending on the severity of the offense:

  1. Personal attacks;
  2. Posts or comments that make obscene remarks about or attacks on the veterinary profession;
  3. Reviews of individual veterinarians or veterinary clinics;
  4. Graphic, obscene, explicit, sexist, racist or similar comments;
  5. Spam, solicitations and advertisements, including website promotion;
  6. "Bumping" content by repeatedly bringing existing or past issues to the top of the page/discussion;
  7. Posts and comments that are blatantly off-topic;
  8. Copyrighted or trademarked material, or intellectual property, posted without the permission of the owner.
  9. Material that encourages anticompetitive activity – specifically:
    1. Material that encourages or facilitates an agreement that expressly or implicitly leads to price fixing or a boycott of another’s business, or other conduct intended to illegally restrict free trade.
    2. Material that encourages or facilitates an agreement about prices, discounts, 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 suppliers.

Our discussion venues are not intended for providing diagnosis or treatment recommendations regarding animal health problems. An online resource is not a substitute for veterinary examination, and online interaction is not a valid Veterinarian-Client-Patient Relationship (VCPR).

Community guidelines

AVMA’s social media communities are discussion venues for the AVMA, members of the veterinary profession, and members of the general public interested in veterinary medicine and animal health and welfare.

Keep it civil and respectful

While these are open forums and we welcome discussion, they’re also family friendly, so please keep your comments and wall posts clean, civil and constructive. In addition to keeping it family-friendly, we ask that you respect the terms of use of Facebook and all other social media sites on which you participate in AVMA communities.

Personal attacks will not be tolerated. Public statements about public figures are acceptable, as long as they do not violate our moderation policy - however, please keep all comments civil and constructive. Insults and personal attacks aimed at others who have posted on the page are not acceptable and will not be tolerated.

No bullying

We will not tolerate graphic, obscene or explicit comments or hate speech. This includes derogatory comments about race, age, sexual orientation, gender, religion, or mental or physical disabilities (such as use of the words "retard" and "retarded"). If you can't make your opinion known without using this kind of speech, then don't comment at all.

No trolls

Unfortunately, it seems some people prefer to spend their energy and time posting hurtful, hateful comments on social media solely to spark negative emotional responses and stir controversy. Sure, the First Amendment protects your right to free speech, but there's no law that says we have to tolerate hateful statements on our social media channels. Don't feed the trolls by responding to them. And if you don't have something constructive to say, don't say it. It's totally OK to disagree with others (including us), but please remain civil and constructive. Those who repeatedly come on our social media only to post nasty, unconstructive comments will likely be banned because they contribute no value to the conversations.

Agree to disagree

We fully understand that many of the issues we address can spark significant and genuine passion, and we appreciate and respect the diverse views of the members of our communities. However, we ask that all participants keep their comments constructive and respect that others' opinions may differ from their own. We're all allowed to have our own opinions, so let's respect each other enough to have constructive dialog and agree to disagree in a civil manner.

No endorsements implied

Our sharing of links, images or videos provided/maintained by others does not constitute endorsement: the AVMA does not endorse products or companies.

With very few exceptions, we don't post (or allow to be posted) notices for lost pets, non-AVMA-affiliated contests, requests to sign petitions, requests for monetary assistance, or requests for attention by other social media pages. We may allow notifications of non-AVMA-affiliated webinars or educational sessions for veterinary professionals to be posted to our page, but we'd ask that you post about your webinar or educational session only once. This is not a statement of the quality or value of these efforts, but is intended to prevent our page from becoming nothing more than a billboard.

When we share something that was posted by another page, we include an acknowledgment of that page in the post; by doing so, we are not accepting responsibility for the content of that page, only our part in sharing that piece of content that we felt would be relevant or appealing to this community.

Be upfront

Please disclose your relationship (employee, owner, etc.), if any, with any companies you are mentioning in your post.

No playing vet

Our communities are not intended for providing diagnosis or treatment recommendations regarding animal health problems. We are unable to provide health advice for animals over the internet - it is unethical and often not legal for us to do so. An online resource is not a substitute for veterinary examination and care, and online interaction is not a valid veterinarian-client-patient relationship (VCPR).

On occasion, we post (or allow to be posted) questions from veterinarians asking for input from our social media audience. The veterinarian who made the request is responsible for his/her own diagnostic/treatment decisions.