There are two major elements of an external-facing government social media policy. That is to say, a policy that is applicable to the public. We’ll cover internal employee policies in another post. The elements include:
- The section detailing the moderation of third party content, and
- A notice regarding applicable public records law.
Moderation of Third Party Content
A sound commenting policy is all about balance. It should be to allow moderation of inappropriate and irrelevant content, while still respecting relevant opinions and First Amendment concerns.
Here is an example of a content moderation policy:
Written correctly (as this one is), government agencies can safely moderate and remove content based on the criteria of this policy. Furthermore, public entities can explicitly distance themselves from the nature of the content shared by third parties.
Notice of Public Records Law
Since social media is public record, citizens must be aware that their communications are being retained and could be shared with others, even if those communications are moderated or later deleted.
Check out this example from Seattle.gov’s facebook page:
As we’ve stated in the past, it’s perfectly fine to re-purpose here. If you come across a social media policy that may work for your agency, use it as a template.