Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Federal Standards of Conduct

Recently, a new Standards of Conduct document has been created and put out by The US Office of Government Ethics. The document regards federal employees’ uses of social media and provides clarification on how to use personal social media accounts when working for the government.

Under these rules, employees will be able to use personal social media accounts, but must abide by rules regarding issues as varied as whether or not to post your job title, to asking an employee you supervise to help you with your personal social media account.

Work titles and some other job specifics are able to be used under suggested disclaimers, adding to the trend we already see regarding posting wording such as “tweets are my own” and “retweets do not equal endorsement” that are already prevalent in Twitter bios. Disclaimers help to provide clarity and avoid legal issues.

Another clarification provided in the document is the use of LinkedIn “endorsements.” It is important that employees avoid “trigger[ing] the seeking employment rules” on that site, which is traditionally an employment-seeking and networking platform.

“Violations can lead to disciplinary actions, up to firing,” The Washington Post reported.

Given our current class projects regarding federal and local government social media class policies, it is interesting to see what policies are being created at the US federal government level, and how those policies might shift and shape other organizations’ best practices moving forward.

It seems that common sense restrictions are still the best personal policy to abide by, but it is important to have official clarification provided to employees to avoid mishaps.

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