Eye on Ethics: Arm's Length Transactions-Conflicts of Interest in Social Work

Document Type


Department (Manual Entry)

School of Social Work


Historically, social workers have focused on conflicts of interest that can arise in their face-to-face relationships with clients. Now, however, given the prevalence of online social media and social networking sites, social workers should be especially mindful of newer forms of conflicts of interest that may require arm's length relationships. In the digital age, social workers may be approached for professional services by someone with whom they have had a longstanding Facebook relationship. Or, social workers may receive an online request to be a Facebook friend from a current or former client. In these instances, social workers must be alert to potential conflicts of interest.

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