Social Media Policy - Page 3

Social Media Policy Template by Eric Schwartzman

Page 3

G. Personal Privacy

1. Employees have a right to their personal privacy. They have the right to keep their personal opinions, beliefs, thoughts and emotions private. Employees are prohibited from sharing anything via social media channels that could violate another  employee’s right to personal privacy.

2. Examples of social media disclosures that may compromise an employee's right to privacy include, but are not limited to, pictures, video or audio recorded and shared through social media channels without the permission of any single employee featured, the public disclosure of private facts or the disclosure of information gained through unreasonable intrusion.

H. Trade Secrets

1. Effectively managing and protecting our organization  ’s trade secrets is a critical responsibility of all employees. Trade secrets are an asset, whether we work in the field or the office. Failure to manage and protect confidential information correctly may result in legal or regulatory fines, damages to  ’s reputation and lost productivity.

2. Externally,  employees are restricted from referencing customers, partners or suppliers by name, or the confidential details of their projects, in their social media disclosures without first obtaining the permission of the individual or organization that the  employee wishes to reference. 

3. Social media channels are not the place to conduct confidential business with co-workers, customers, partners or suppliers.

4. External social media channels should not be used for internal business communications among fellow employees. It is fine for employees to disagree, but please don't use your external blog or other online social media channels to air your differences publicly.

5. Think carefully before you make any social media disclosures. What you publish online may be available to a broad audience for a very, very long time. When in doubt, leave it out.

I. Security

1. The use of cameras or other visual recording devices is prohibited at  facilities or complexes, unless approved in advance by External Communications or Public Affairs.

2. The creation of text messages, text notes, text descriptions, emails, photographs, sketches, pictures, drawing, maps or graphical representations or explanations of  facility or complex is prohibited without first obtaining permission from External Communications or Public Affairs. 

3. Whether internal or external, social media communications are never private. Sharing of any information via social media channels that could comprise the security of any  facility or complex.

J. Diplomacy

1. Internal social computing platforms permit a broad audience to participate, so be sensitive to who will see your social media disclosures. If someone hasn't given explicit permission for their name to be used, think carefully about how your social media disclosure could impact intangibles such as morale or productivity. Again, when in doubt, leave it out.

2. Don't try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Here and in other areas of public discussion, cooperate and acknowledge that everyone is important. Never assume superiority. Always be humble. And be open to compromise, particularly when the cost of conflict outweighs the cost of losing ground.

3. For reasons of diplomacy,  employees are discouraged from releasing external social media disclosures about competitors. If however, a employee chooses to release a social media disclosure or to engage in an online discussion with or about a competitor, any facts cited in their disclosure must be readily verifiable by means of a link to a reliable, neutral source with a reputation for fact checking and accuracy.

K. Disclaimers

1. In order to protect our brand, our organization wants to make it as easy as possible for others to be able to distinguish social media disclosures issued in an official capacity by management from those issued by employees who are not our official corporate spokespeople. But we also don't want to burden employees or in any way "chill" their rights under the NLRA. To help others distinguish social media disclosures from management from those from employees, we ask that only those authorized to speak on behalf of our organization  in an official capacity do so via social media channels without including a disclaimer.

2. Employees who are not authorized to speak on behalf of our company  in an official capacity may share their opinions or thoughts about our company  and company  -related topics via social media channels as long as they include a disclaimer clearly acknowledging that their personal opinions do not reflect the opinions of our company . Disclaimers do not need to be in the actual social media disclosure itself. Social media disclaimers can be stated once -- preferable in the biography or about field -- on the profile page of the social media account holder. Here are two sample social media disclaimers:

a. "I work for  and this is my personal opinion." 

b. "I am not an official  spokesperson but my personal opinion is..."

3. If employees choose to use social media channels to distribute links to official  content, they are not required to disclaim their relationship  , so long as they have clearly acknowledged their relationship to our organization  on the profile page of the social media account or channel used to distribute the link, and preferably any other social media channels they may use to redistribute or syndicate their social media disclosures.

4. Any employee who chooses to use social media to publish content or engage in online conversations in an unofficial capacity without referencing links to official  content are requested to feature the following disclaimer prominently on the profile page of the social media channel used to distribute the disclosure, and the profile pages on any social media channels they use to redistribute and/or syndicate those disclosures. At a minimum, the following standard disclaimer should be used: "The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent our organization  's positions, strategies or opinions.”

5. This standard disclaimer does not by itself exempt  employees from a special responsibility when making social media disclosures. By virtue of their position, they must consider whether the personal thoughts they publish may be misunderstood  . And a manager should assume that his or her team will read what is written. Public social media channels are not the place for manager's enforce corporate policy or reprimand  employees.

6. Social media disclosures which do not mention  our organization or  organziation-related topics do not need to include a disclaimer.

L. Legal Matters

1. For your protection, and the protection of our organization  , employees using social media channels are expected to do so without infringing on the copyrights of others.  Employees are prohibited from engaging in any activities via social media channels that interferes with the copyrights of others.

2. For your protection, and the protection of our organization , employees are prohibited from using internal or external social media channels for evaluating the performance of their co-workers, business partners or vendors, as long as they can do so without forfeiting their legal rights under the NLRA.

3. For your protection, and the protection of  our organization , employees are prohibited from using internal or external social media channels to publicly criticize or complain about the behavior or actions of an  customer , as long as they can do so without forfeiting their legal rights under the NLRA.

4. For your protection, and the protection of our organization  , employees are prohibited from using internal or external social media channels to discuss trade secrets, legal matters, litigation or our  financial performance. When asked by others to discuss any of these matters, employees should relay that “our  social media policy only allows authorized employees to discuss these types of matters but I can refer you to someone on our external communications team if you’d like to ask them,” and refer the question to an appropriate  External Communications team member.

5. In some circumstances, it may be permissible to share an excerpt from a copyrighted work in a social media disclosure, so long as that copyrighted work is publicly available on the internet. These guidelines apply to sharing of copyrighted works that are publicly available on the Internet:

a. Employees may share links to copyrighted works hosted by copyright owners or their resellers without obtaining the permission of the copyright owner. When sharing links to copyrighted works in social media disclosures,  employees may include an original description of the link they’re sharing, without the copyright owner’s approval.

b. Employees may share an excerpt of up to 140 characters with spaces from a copyrighted work, so long as a link to where that work is publicly available on the internet is included in their social media disclosure and provided that they are not blatantly using social media for the sole purpose of undermining the financial objectives of the copyright owner.

c. Employees may embed copyrighted content in their social media accounts, and share embeddable content in their social media disclosures, so long as the embed code has been provided by a rightful copyright owner or reseller.

d. In circumstances like disasters or emergencies, where the public’s right to know outweighs the financial objectives of a copyright owner,  employees may share copyrighted works without the permission of the copyright owner. An example could be photographs uploaded to social media channels of a disaster to help others stay out of harm's way.


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You are free to use this social media policy template as a starting point for the development of your own corporate social media policy, as long as you attribute include the following language with anchor text where ever you may publish it and as long as you share your policy, be it an exact copy of this policy or a derivative work, with who ever you share it with as well.

Attribution Text with Anchor Text Hyperlinks: This social media policy was developed using a social media policy template by Eric Schwartzman, a digital strategist specializing in online marketing, online communications and social media governance. Follow him @ericschwartzman

Creative Commons License

Social Media Policy Template by Eric Schwartzman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at www.socialmediapolicytemplate.com.

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