Social Media Policy for Official County Business

Greene County, Ohio
Social Media Policy for Official County Business


I. Purpose

This policy establishes guidelines for the use of social media sites, for official business, by Greene County offices/departments, under the purview of the Greene County Records Commission. The intended purpose behind establishing official Greene County social media sites is to disseminate the office/department’s message and information about the department’s events, research, projects, outreach initiatives, findings, news, information, etc. to the general public.

Social media content is created by individuals, using accessible, expandable, and upgradeable publishing technologies, through and on the Internet. Social media services and tools are powerful and effective means to communicate quickly and broadly, share information, and interact with colleagues and the public. These third party technologies are used to reach a wider audience and to facilitate and enhance professional communication and collaboration. Greene County social media sites and “blogs” are authorized solely for the office/department to express its views as an organization and provide information, and not to create a public forum.

II. Content Management

Staff representatives from Greene County offices/departments will monitor content and comments on social media sites to ensure adherence to both the Social Media Policy and the interest and goals of Greene County. For purposes of this policy, “comments” include information, articles, pictures, videos, or any other form of communicative content posted on a Greene County social media site. The staff representative will be authorized to create, edit, and delete posts. Currently, platforms that will require moderation include: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+, and Flickr. In the future, additional social media platforms may also require moderation. Content on these sites will be updated at the discretion of the staff moderator. Some events, occasions, and topics may influence more updates and participation than others. The moderator will have a daily presence on the social media sites during normal work hours to monitor activity and respond to comments and messages. If the moderator decides to remove a post in accordance to the office/department’s retention schedule, public records policy or Social Media comment policy, they shall do so consistently so all posts are maintained consistently.

III. General Policy

1. The establishment and use by Greene County employees of social media sites are subject to approval by the Elected Official/Department Head and the Greene County Data Board, Records Commission, and Records Manager. All Greene County official social media sites are to be administered by a designated Greene County employee within the designated office/department, or an authorized contractor.
2. Before beginning any social media project, the office/department must have an approved ‘Plan for Social Media Engagement’ on file with the Greene County Records Manager. The need for this approval is twofold: (1) There may already be an office/department social media site that is currently in use so it is important that we track our social media efforts to ensure that there is no duplication. (2) A social media account must be covered under the County’s Social Media Archiving System, or have an approved alternate means of archiving any records that may be created by these systems.
3. Sites maintained by Greene County offices/departments shall make clear that they are maintained by the office/department and that they follow the Greene County Social Media Policy.
4. User accounts used to create official social media sites that are maintained by Greene County offices/departments shall be linked to Greene County email addresses and not personal email addresses. These user accounts should not be used for personal social media activity.
5. Social media sites should link back to the official Greene County website for forms, documents, online services, and other information.
6. A designated staff representative from the office/department may monitor content on the social media sites to ensure adherence to both the Social Media Policy and the interest and goals of Greene County.
7. Social Media guidelines shall be displayed and made readily available to users.
8. The Greene County website will remain the primary and predominant internet presence for official department business, contact, assistance, and information.
9. All social media sites maintained by Greene County offices/departments shall adhere to applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
10. Social media sites are subject to the Ohio Public Records Act. Any content maintained in a social media format related to official county business that documents the function of that office, including a list of subscribers, posted communications, and communication submitted for posting, may be considered a public record, and therefore subject to public disclosure.
11. Social media content may be removed if it is deemed in violation of the Social Media Policy or any applicable law.
12. Any blog post, comment, Facebook post, Tweet, etc. removed from a social media page that is a public record must be kept in accordance with the Greene County General Retention Schedule.
13. Comments must be turned off for all official Greene County YouTube, Google+, and Flickr accounts.
14. Employees are representing Greene County through these social media sites, and shall conduct themselves at all times as a representative of the County and in accordance with the Greene County Personnel Policy.
15. This Social Media Policy is in addition to the Social Networking Policy, adopted by Resolution Number 10-11-4-13.

IV. Comment Policy

These sites are intended to serve as a mechanism for Greene County offices/departments to communicate to the public the message of the office/department.

In the event the office/department creates a discussion thread, that thread is solely dedicated to the limited topic and any irrelevant or harassing posts may be removed from public view. As a public entity, all Greene County offices/departments must abide by certain standards to serve all its constituents in a civil and unbiased manner. Accordingly, the county office/department may review any comment posted, and remove those comments that violate this social media policy. These sites are not created as public forums, but as a way for the office/department to express its message to the public. Communications made to the office/department via a social media site will in no way constitute legal or official notice or serve as a channel for formal or official communication, [e.g. the public may not use these sites to request public records]

A comment posted by a member of the public on any Greene County social media site is the opinion of the commenter or poster only, and publication does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, Greene County offices/departments, nor do such comments necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of Greene County or Greene County Government as a whole.

Comments posted to this page may be monitored during regular business hours, and comments requesting responses and in violation of this policy may be removed at any time. The Board of Greene County Commissioners further reserves the right to deny access to any Greene County social media sites for any individual, who violates the Greene County Social Media Policy, at any time without prior notice. When a Greene County employee responds to a comment, in their capacity as a Greene County employee, the employees name and title shall be made available, upon request, and the employee shall not share personal information about themselves, or other County employees. Perceived misuse by an employee should be reported directly to the Elected Official/Department Head, who will make a determination of appropriate discipline.

All comments posted to any Greene County social media sites are bound to the respected sites’ Terms of Service, Statement of Rights, User Agreement, etc. and the Board of Greene County Commissioners reserves the right to report any violation of these agreements with the intent of said site taking appropriate and reasonable responsive action. Greene County reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments containing, but not limited to the following types of content:

• Vulgar, profane, obscene, violent, or offensive language and sexual content or links to sexual content;
• Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, color, age, religion, sex, national origin, military status, disability, genetic information, or sexual orientation;
• Comments not related to the original topic, including random or unintelligible comments;
• Content that disrupts or disturbs the ability of the office/ department to express its message
• Content that requires an inordinate amount of staff involvement or resources
• Violation of any laws of the State of Ohio
• Spam or solicitations of commerce, including but not limited to advertisements of a vendor’s products or services;
• Content that supports or opposes political views, campaigns, or ballot measures;
• Infringement upon copyrights or trademarks;
• Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;
• Defamatory or personal attacks;
• Threats to any person or organization;
• Repetitive or duplicative posts by single or multiple users.

The purpose of this clause allowing for the removal of public comment is to preserve the right of the office/department to express its views and activities without being subject to annoying, dangerous, or criminal behavior.

V. Endorsements, Advertising, and Authorized Links

Unauthorized links posted directly to Greene County social media sites will be removed. Links must be submitted directly to a designated county employee or authorized contractor for approval, and posting to the social media site.

These sites may contain hypertext or other links to external Internet sites that are not provided or maintained by Greene County. Please note that Greene County cannot guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of these external sites. Any posted hyperlinks shall be accompanied by a disclaimer stating that Greene County does not guarantee the authenticity, accuracy, appropriateness, or security of the link, website, or content linked thereto.

In addition to material posted by Greene County offices/departments, this page may include ads and suggestions for other profiles to view selected by the social media site that links to third party sites included in user comments. The inclusion of these ads, profiles, and links is outside of the control of Greene County and are not an official endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service. The Board of Greene County Commissioners, or any other county office/department, does not receive any revenue from any of these advertisement links.