The German Informatics Society (GI) has published new social media guidelines aimed at educating developers about the responsible use of social media as well as how to protect their users’ private data.

GI’s Data Protection and IT Security Working Group released the new guidelines in June after widespread reports of dissatisfaction from the community over changes to major social media platforms.

Working Group spokesman, Harmut Pohl said that social media is now 10 years old and connects over three billion individuals, business and governments, making it a matter of urgency to introduce guidelines for developing and operating these platforms.

“Due to their widespread use and impact on everyday life, the networking and the privacy of citizens, we need guidelines to review and manage social media,” he said.

The guidelines not only advise developers on what constitutes ‘responsible use’ in the creation of social media services, but also warn against the careless handling of private data. It covers four main areas of content:

  1. Understanding Social Media
  2. Evaluation Criteria for Social Media
  3. Use of Social Media
  4. Development of Social Media

The guidelines are available for download (in German) at