Social Media Policy
Purpose & Scope:
Social networking has encouraged new ways to communication and share information. Through this policy, the City of Eustis shall establish basic guidelines for use of its current (and any new) social media outlets to ensure proper use.
Social media channels are used to increase public awareness of the city’s services, accomplishments, events, and news, as well as an effective and immediate form of communication in emergency/crisis situations when timeliness of the information is crucial.
The goals of the City of Eustis Social Media Policy are:
- To increase public awareness of the City’s programs, policies and services
- To promote the value and importance of the City’s programs, policies and services among government officials, civic leaders, residents and the public
- To maintain open, professional and responsive communications with members of the public and the news media
This policy, and its provisions, apply to and serve as a guide to all City employees, departments, volunteers and contracted entities that share information on behalf of the City while engaging in any social media activities implied or directed. Nothing in this policy is intended to restrict employees from the right to speak freely on matters of public concern and to engage in other protected concerted activities, as defined an interpreted by applicable law.
All social media communications messages and comments are subject to public records law. All of the City’s social media sites shall comply with Chapter 119 and any other applicable sections of the Florida State Statutes. The City of Eustis will use a third-party service provider to automatically capture and retain all social media interaction on City-owned social media accounts.
An Authorized User is an employee, who has been authorized by their Department Director and approved by the City Manager to access and post updates to the City’s social media accounts.
Comments are short notes about a post.
Hashtags(#) are words or phrases used within a message to identify a keyword or topic of interest and facilitate a search for it. Hashtags are preceded by the pound sign (#) and can be a word or a short phrase i.e. (#AmericasHometown).
A Post is a message the organization wants to share with those who “like” the organization’s Facebook page or who “follow” the organization on Twitter. On Facebook, a post is most commonly called a Status Update. And, on Twitter, a post is called a Tweet. Posts will appear on the organization’s activity feed and can include pictures, links, videos, or any related media.
Social media are websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking.
A Social Media Account is any registration, login credential, or network that is created or maintained for the purpose of establishing or perpetuating a social media presence.
Social Networking is the use of dedicated websites and applications to interact with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself or interest in one’s organization. Facebook and Twitter are social networking sites.
Tag or tagging someone or an organization means a link is created to that person’s or organization’s profile. The person/organization that is tagged in a post will be notified and the post may be added to the person’s/organization’s timeline or newsfeed.
The City Manager or designee is ultimately responsible for the maintenance and monitoring of all City of Eustis social media accounts in accordance with this policy. The City Manager or designee is the primary point of contact for each department and will provide an overview and training of this social media policy and its implementation. The City Manager and/or designee shall have administrator rights on all City-affiliated social media sites.
The City Clerk’s Office will oversee the records management program.
The Information Technology Department will provide the necessary technology services, security, guidance and technical assistance for effective social media usage.
Authorized users are responsible for actively engaging in social media by posting pertinent information on behalf of the City on a consistent basis and in compliance with this social media policy.
It is the policy of the City of Eustis to adopt a procedure to guide all interaction with social media platforms and its accompanying guidelines that provides a standard approach to the collaboration and sharing of information on and in various public domains to provide consistent communication across all media.
Social Media Usage
- While social media provide an effective forum for building relationships and for conveying small “bites” of information, these platforms do not serve as the City’s sole or even primary means of communication with residents, businesses and others. The City’s social media accounts are intended to be used for informational purposes only.
- Social media is a particularly ineffective tool for communicating about complex issues. The City will use more appropriate means to communicate detailed information about complex issues and to discuss concerns with citizens and others.
- Practical and legal considerations may sometimes constrain, prevent, or prohibit discussion of certain topics, such as court cases, through this medium.
- Comments that offer thoughtful criticism of the organization (not individuals or other businesses) and City initiatives shall not be removed or altered except as provided for in this policy.
- The City reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this policy or any applicable law. The City’s social media articles, posts or comments containing any of the following forms of content shall not be allowed and may be removed at any time by the City in its sole discretion:
- Profane language or content
- Personal or character attacks
- Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates unlawful discrimination
- Sexual content or links to sexual content
- Advertisements not authorized by the City
- Illegal conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
- Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems of content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party.
- These guidelines must be readily available to users by hyperlink to the City’s website. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster when available, in accordance with the City’s policy on the retention of such information.
The City of Eustis will utilize one central account with desired social media networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and others). Individual departments and employees, through the City Manager or designee, will utilize the central account to convey desired communication.
- No additional Department-specific social media pages or platforms shall be created without the approval of the City Manager or designee.
- An introductory statement that clearly specifies the purpose and topical scope of the City’s social media presence will be included in all platforms used and have the following public records notice clearly stated on the landing page of the social network page.
- Management of social media accounts and initiatives shall lie primarily with the City Manager or designee.
- A limited number of staff members, shall have access to social media accounts and passwords and permission to post as “City of Eustis” (or other City Department).
- Approved staff must complete the Authorized User Form and receive approval from his/her Department Director and the City Manager’s Office. City staff members who are not Authorized Users may request that the City Manager or designee post a message from the City of Eustis on their behalf.
- The City Manager or designee will provide training on social media usage for authorized users in other departments.
- The City shall not post purposefully inaccurate information. If an inadvertent inaccuracy is posted, a correction will be published as soon as possible.
- Designated City staff members may post comments/replies without advance review or permission of City management. However, if staff members have concerns or desire advance review, they may request such from the City Manager or designee.
- The City will not edit others’ comments. However, if others’ comments are not in compliance with the standards for content listed above, the comments will be removed. Any content removed based on this guideline will be retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster when available, in accordance with public records laws.