Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Social Media Guideline of The Japanese Government

     In order to achieve open government, it is important to improve transparency, participation, and collaboration of citizens and the public sector. Social media is one new tool to encourage active citizen engagement. To create great content and encourage public officer and citizens to communicate with each other, the government should create guidelines.

     In Japan, the government started to use social media right after the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in March 2011. At that time the Japanese government did not have any guidelines of social media. However, citizens needed real time information about the earthquake, so government started to use it to respond to the disaster. On April 5, 2011, the Japanese government made a guideline about disseminating information using social media in public institutions. Under this circumstance, this guideline mainly focuses on two points that the government needs to pay attention to in using social media. Moreover, the guideline seems intended to be used only on Twitter.

Here are the two points:

1. Prevention of “Spoofing” as recommended in the guidelines
-Clarify that the account operator is a public agency and get the authenticated account.
-Set a web page which provides the information about the agency’s social media account information found in the agency’s web site.
-Create a process to handle unauthorized posting.
-Do not use shorter URL services.
- Make sure the information is reliable when referring from another account.

2. Setting and showing a social media account operation policy.
- Set a social media account operation policy
- Show the policy in its account and the agency’s website

     According to this policy, many government agencies has own social media account operation policy. However, many of these sites say, “We do not reply on these comments which we receive”. This is because the purpose of using social media is to disseminate information related to natural phenomena like earthquake. At that time, government started to use twitter in order to deliver this information easily to many people. However, now the society is changing and citizens want government to be more open in communicating and responding on netizens.
     I think that it’s time for the managers from public sectors to reassess regarding this social media guideline and operation policy. It has to be more open to public and collaborate with other. In addition, Japanese government needs to make social media guideline for public officers because they are the one who provide information and respond to netizens. It will be a great help to mitigate risk and to better manage social media.

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