Can I advertise another firm’s property on social media?

QUESTION: My BIC informed me today that she received a complaint from another firm. The other firm was upset that I re-posted one of their properties on my social media, even though I specifically gave credit to the listing firm in capital letters in my post. I recently toured the property with a client, and I was just trying to show potential prospects the kind of gorgeous properties I had been in recently. Did my post violate the Code of Ethics? How is my post different than using the Internet Data Exchange (IDX) from my MLS?

ANSWER: Your post does not comply with the Code of Ethics and differs significantly from an IDX display.

We have previously written here that REALTORS® cannot advertise another firm’s property in print without permission under Article 12 of the Code of Ethics. Article 12 similarly applies to social media advertising. This means that before a REALTOR® can advertise a property on social media or elsewhere, they must have authority to do so. See Standard of Practice 12-4. In the future, if you wish to create a social media post featuring another firm’s property, be sure to obtain the listing agent’s permission first in order to be in compliance.

Social media posts such as the one you describe differ significantly from an IDX. REALTORS® submit properties to the MLS for the narrow and limited purpose of disseminating information to other MLS participants. Every MLS has rules to make sure that the information provided to the MLS is protected and only used by participants and their clients as authorized under the MLS’s rules. The IDX permits a participant to create a limited electronic display of another participant’s listing. However, a participant using the IDX must comply with the MLS’s rules on such displays, which includes giving the MLS direct access to the display to ensure compliance. These safeguards ensure both that the listing agent has given permission and that the information is displayed properly.

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