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Sample Social Media Policy
[This is a sample social media policy that organisations may use as a starting place to create their own policy. You should review it carefully and edit as necessary to ensure that it meets the needs and practices of your organization and complies with state and central laws.]
[COMPANY] realizes that many employees may participate in social media as a way to share their life experiences and thoughts with family, friends and colleagues. Social Media includes all means of communicating or posting information or content of any sort on the Internet, including to your own or someone else’s web log or blog, journal or diary, personal website, social networking or affinity web site, web bulletin board or chat room whether or not associated or affiliated with [COMPANY], as well as any other form of electronic communication.
An employee’s use of Social Media may involve certain risks and requires an employee to exercise certain responsibilities. Thus, it is important for employees to remember that any conduct that adversely affects the employee’s job performance, the performance of colleagues or others who work on behalf of or for the [COMPANY], such as suppliers, vendors, etc., may result in  disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees should be aware that [Company] may observe content and information made available by employees through social media. Employees should use their best judgment in posting material that is neither inappropriate nor harmful to [Company], its employees, or customers.
To assist employees in making responsible decisions about the use of social media, [COMPANY] has established the following guidelines for the appropriate use of Social Media.
1. Personal use of social media

Employees may not participate in Social Media while on work time, except as explicitly permitted below in the section entitled “[COMPANY] Business-Related Use.” Any personal use of [COMPANY]’s computer or communications equipment such as workstations, phones, laptops, or network infrastructure, to participate in Social Media must be minimal, occasional, limited to non-work times, may not be at the expense of an employee’s job performance or interfere in any way with the business needs and operations of [COMPANY], and may not impose costs on [COMPANY].
An employee should not use her/his [COMPANY] email address to register on any Social Media website for personal use. It is highly recommended that employees keep [Company] related social media accounts separate from personal accounts, if practical. Any Social Media postings by an employee shall be consistent with [COMPANY]’s policies including, but not limited to, [COMPANY]’s anti-harassment and non-discrimination policies as well as [COMPANY]’s policies regarding the non-disclosure of information [COMPANY] is required to keep confidential pursuant to state and central laws. Inappropriate postings that may include discriminatory remarks, harassment and threats of violence or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and may subject an employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Employees should get appropriate permission before you refer to or post images of current or former employees, members, vendors or suppliers.
If [COMPANY] is a subject of Social Media content an employee is creating, the employee must be clear  and open about the fact that s/he is an employee and her/his views do not represent those of  the [COMPANY]. (for example: “The views and comments stated herein are personal and do not  necessarily reflect the views of my employer.”).
[COMPANY] reminds employees that work-related complaints are more likely to be resolved if the employee speaks directly with his/her co-workers or follows the procedures set forth in [COMPANY]’s Complaint Policy. However, if an employee decides to use Social Media to post complaints or criticisms, [COMPANY] asks that the employee avoid using statements, photographs, video or audio that could be reasonably  viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening, intimidating, disparaging to [COMPANY]’s employees and clients or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of caste, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or [COMPANY] policy.
An employee should be honest and accurate when posting information or news and if a mistake is made, the employee should quickly correct it. An employee should never post any information or rumors that s/he knows to be false about [COMPANY], [COMPANY]’s clients or people working on behalf of [COMPANY].
2. Business-Related Use
An employee is not permitted to visit Social Media websites during work hours, unless specifically authorized to do so for business-related purposes, either: (1) by virtue of employee’s job responsibilities; or (2) with express authorization as specified below. Those employees who do have authorization and post messages on [COMPANY]’s websites or social media accounts should understand that they are posting on behalf of [COMPANY] and must adhere to [COMPANY]’s professional standards, values, policies and applicable laws at all times.
a. Employees who have job responsibilities that include posting information to [COMPANY]- maintained websites and/or social media accounts understand and agree that the content and followers of the blog or other website belong exclusively to [COMPANY] and that upon request the employee must provide [COMPANY] with any information necessary to log into a [COMPANY]-maintained website or social media account. No employee may create an official [COMPANY] account or change a password, as this is solely the responsibility of [COMPANY]’s ITS department, and specifically the Director of Technology, Systems Development. Further, employees must be mindful of the issue of copyright, trademark or intellectual property infringement when posting materials that may be owned by others.
b.  Individuals who do not have job responsibilities that include the posting of information  to [COMPANY]-maintained websites and/or Social Media accounts in the name of the [COMPANY] or in  a manner that could reasonably be attributed to [COMPANY] must obtain express written  authorization from the CEO, a Vice-President, or a Department Head.
All employees authorized to post on [COMPANY] social media accounts should identify themselves and their affiliation with [COMPANY]. Any content posted should be current and accurate. If you do make an error, take responsibility for it and correct it quickly. Do not post any information that is obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, or intimidating to another person or entity. Examples of such conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of caste, sex, disability, religion or any other status protected by law or [COMPANY]’s policy. Individuals may be held personally liable for such remarks.
If employees find encounter a situation while using social media that threatens to become antagonistic, employees should disengage from the dialogue in a polite manner and seek the advice of a supervisor. Social media networks, blogs and other types of online content sometimes generate press and media attention or legal questions. Employees should refer these inquiries to authorized [Company] spokespersons.
When posting for authorized business-related purposes, employees should refer to the [COMPANY]’s political activity policy to ensure compliance with laws governing such activities. Employees are also prohibited from using or disclosing any personal identifiable information about any individual who has received services from [COMPANY]. If a comment contains information that identifies an individual who has received services from [COMPANY] and is sent by anyone other than that individual, the posting author should edit the identifying information out of the post promptly.
Employees who have access to company’s social media account’s for business purpose, as soon as the person ceases to be in employment of [COMPANY], he or she should refrain from accessing such account.
3. Employment References
Requests for employment recommendations on Social Media websites from former employees of [COMPANY] should be treated like any other employment reference and are subject to [COMPANY]’s  reference policy. An example of this would be a former employee asking a current employee to provide a reference on LinkedIn. Any postings to that website automatically include an individual’s business affiliations. Therefore, employment references (whether online or not) should not be provided by [COMPANY] personnel, other than through the Human Resources Department. Additionally, the former employee must first submit a reference release to Human Resources.
4. Employment Representations
Following the end of your employment relationship with [COMPANY], you shall take prompt affirmative steps to ensure that no Social Media website represents you to be a current employee of [COMPANY].
5. Social media incident reporting

Every employee is responsible for reporting any perceived internet threat immediately to their immediate supervisor and ensuring that the Company’s confidential and proprietary information, as well as that of their customers, is not further compromised in the response to any threat.
All employees, contractors, sub-contractors and consultants shall report the following internet threats to [ithreat@companyname.com]:
  • Identity Theft (Phishing, Vishing, SMShing, Malware and other scam attempts targeting customers and/or employees) contact
  • Brand Abuses (Unauthorized use of Intellectual Property; Traffic Diversion and Unauthorized Association; Counterfeiting; and Channel Compliance) contact
  • Defamatory Discussion (Malicious and/or erroneous discussion in blogs, forums and other social media)
6. General Implementation of Policy
Employees who violate this policy are subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal or legal action. [COMPANY] prohibits taking negative action against any employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation. Any employee who retaliates against another employee for reporting a possible deviation from this policy or for cooperating in an investigation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.
Additionally, please keep in mind that [COMPANY]’s Policy for Use of Computers, Internet Access System and E-Mail, which is available on the [COMPANY] internal staff website, also applies to all [COMPANY] employees.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding these policies, you are encouraged to speak to

The material can be accessed here.

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