Social Media Policy by the Victorian Department of Justice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This policy provides guidance to departmental employees and external contractors that engage in social media.
Social media, web 2.0, online media, new media, social software, Gov2.0.
Online communication and new media tools are important communication channels that provide an opportunity for the Department of Justice (department) to engage with the Victorian public directly. These tools inform the public about Justice services and information about programs, and create a new opportunity to open up a two-way conversation with the public through consulting with the community on policy development.
The objective of this policy is to set parameters on the use of social media, whether as part of your professional responsibilities, or in a personal capacity, to limit the risk of damage being caused to the department arising out of such use.
This policy was developed to sit under the framework for the Guidance for the use of social media in the Victorian public sector released by the Public Sector Standards Commissioner.
It is essential that you understand that comments you make via social media platforms are as public as if you were making the same comments to the media or at a public forum.
The intention of this policy is to establish a culture of openness, trust and integrity in activities around Web 2.0.
Depending on the circumstances, non-compliance with this policy may constitute a breach of employment or contractual obligations, misconduct (under the department's Misconduct Policy), sexual harassment, discrimination, or some other contravention of the law.
Those who fail to comply with this policy may face disciplinary action and, in serious cases, termination of their employment or engagement.
Identifying inappropriate use
If you notice inappropriate or unlawful content online relating to the department, or content that may otherwise have been published in breach of this policy, you should report the circumstances via email to the Online Communications and New Media team (Jacqueline.Page@justice.vic.gov.au).
Privacy breaches can also be reported to the department's Privacy Unit on 8684 0178.
Content created by people using highly accessible and scalable publishing technologies. Social media is distinct from industrial media, such as newspapers, television, and film. Social media comprises relatively inexpensive and accessible tools that enable anyone (even private individuals) to publish or access information – industrial media generally require significant resources to publish information. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_media)
Social Media may include (although is not limited to):
social networking sites (eg Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn, Bebo, Yammer)
video and photo sharing websites (eg Flickr, Youtube)
blogs, including corporate blogs and personal blogs
blogs hosted by media outlets (eg 'comments' or 'your say' feature on theage.com.au)
micro-blogging (eg Twitter)
wikis and online collaborations (eg Wikipedia)
forums, discussion boards and groups (eg Google groups, Whirlpool)
vod and podcasting
online multiplayer gaming platforms (eg World of Warcraft, Second life)
instant messaging (including SMS)
geo-spatial tagging (Foursquare)
Statement of Policy
PROFESSIONAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Becoming authorised to comment
Before engaging in social media as a representative of the department, you must become authorised to comment.
You may not comment as a representative of the department unless you are authorised to do so.
To become authorised to comment in an official capacity, you have been through a trial usage period on Yammer, gained approval from (at a minimum) your director, and from the Manager of Online Communications and New Media team, Strategic Communications Branch (Jacqueline.Page@justice.vic.gov.au).
Rules of engagement
Once authorised to comment as a department representative, you must:
disclose you are an employee/contractor of the department, and use only your own identity, or an approved official account or avatar;
disclose and comment only on information classified as public domain information;
ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading and complies with all relevant departmental and WoVG policies;
ensure you are not the first to make an announcement (unless specifically given permission to do so);
comment only on your area of expertise and authority;
ensure comments are respectful of the community in which you are interacting online;
If you are authorised to comment as a department representative, you must not:
post or respond to material that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, infringes copyright, constitutes a contempt of court, breaches a Court suppression order, or is otherwise unlawful;
use or disclose any confidential or secure information; and
make any comment or post any material that might otherwise cause damage to the Department's reputation or bring it into disrepute.
Moderation of department produced social media
The site owner must ensure a moderation policy is clear when inviting comments from the public on a department website or social media platform.
All department website activity (including any social media) must be approved by the department's Website Management Taskforce.
PERSONAL USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
The department recognises that you may wish to use social media in your personal life.
This policy does not intend to discourage nor unduly limit your personal expression or online activities.
However, you should recognise the potential for damage to be caused (either directly or indirectly) to the department in certain circumstances via your personal use of social media when you can be identified as a Department of Justice employee. Accordingly, you should comply with this policy to ensure that the risk of such damage is minimised.
You are personally responsible for the content you publish in a personal capacity on any form of social media platform. When in doubt, users should seek guidance from the department on how to comply with the following obligations.
Where your comments or profile can identify you as a public servant,
only disclose and discuss publicly available information;
ensure that all content published is accurate and not misleading and complies with all relevant departmental and WoVG policies;
expressly state on all postings (identifying you as a government employee) the stated views are your own and are not those of the department or the government;
be polite and respectful to all people you interact with; and
You must not:
post material that is offensive, obscene, defamatory, threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, hateful, racist, sexist, infringes copyright, constitutes a contempt of court, breaches a Court suppression order, or is otherwise unlawful;
imply that you are authorised to speak as a representative of the department or the government, nor give the impression that the views you express are those of the department or the government;
use their department email address or any department or Victorian Government logos or insignia;
use the identity or likeness of another employee, contractor or other member of the department; and
use or disclose any confidential information obtained in your capacity as an employee/contractor of the department;
imply you are authorised to speak on behalf of the department, or give the impression that any views you express are those of the department;
use your department email address or any department or Victorian Government logos or insignia that may give the impression of official support or endorsement of your personal comment;
use or disclose any confidential information or personal information obtained in your capacity as an employee/contractor of the department;
post material that is, or might be construed as, threatening, harassing, bullying or discriminatory towards another employee/contractor of the department; and
make any comment or post any material that might otherwise cause damage to the department's reputation or bring it into disrepute.
Reasonable/unreasonable personal use
When accessing social media via the department's Internet, intranet and extranet systems, you must do so in accordance with the Department's Internet and Email Usage Policy, which requires you to use these resources 'reasonably', in a manner that does not interfere with your work, and is not inappropriate or excessively accessed.
Examples of reasonable use include:
Re-tweeting content from the Justice_Vic account on your own Twitter account
Accessing and posting comments on the Justice network within Yammer (microblog service)
Participating in working groups on the VPS Hub (whole of Victorian government intranet)
Updating Facebook status and posting messages during a lunch break
Departmental resources should not be used to access or post any material that is fraudulent, harassing, threatening, bullying, embarrassing, sexually explicit, profane, obscene, racist, sexist, intimidating, defamatory or otherwise inappropriate or unlawful.
You should not use the department's Internet and computer resources to provide comments to journalists, politicians and lobby groups other than in the course of their official duties.
It is not acceptable to spend hours using social media that is not related to your work.
Guidance for navigating legal issues
The following is offered as general guidance to assist you in complying with the obligations set out in this policy. When in doubt, seek further guidance from the department.
Privacy, confidentiality and information security
You should only use personal information obtained in the course of your employment/engagement with the department in a manner consistent with the Department's Personal Information Policy and Information Security Policy.
Users should not publish or report on conversations or information that is deemed confidential or classified or deals with matters that are internal in nature.
For more information on posting material online (in the "public domain"), refer to the Information Management Policy section "department information in the public domain."
You should respect copyright laws and fair use of copyrighted material.
You should attribute work to the original author/source wherever possible.
Harassment and bullying
The Department's Anti Bullying and Workplace Conflict Policy applies online and in the physical workplace.
Workplace bullying and harassment includes any bullying or harassing comments employees make online, even on their own private social networks or out of office hours.
Abusive, harassing, threatening or defaming postings are in breach of the department's Anti Bullying and Workplace Conflict Policy, and may result in disciplinary action being taken.
All employees are expected to treat their colleagues with respect and dignity and must ensure their behaviour does not constitute bullying and/or harassment.
You should refrain from publishing material that may cause injury to another person, organisation, association or company's reputation, and should seek further guidance if publication of such material is thought to be necessary.
Offensive or obscene material
Material may be offensive or obscene and may infringe relevant online classification laws if it pornographic, sexually suggestive, harassing, hateful, racist, sexist, abusive or discriminatory.
Contempt of Court
You should exercise care if referring to pending court proceedings to avoid publishing material that may have a tendency to prejudice those proceedings, in particular, material that will not be part of the evidence in those proceedings.
You should make enquiries as to any applicable court suppression orders prior to commenting on any court proceeding (whether past or pending).
Code of Conduct for Victorian Public Sector Employees
Guidance for the use of social media in the Victorian public sector
Information Management Policy
Anti Bullying and Workplace Conflict Policy
Internet and Email Usage Policy
Information Security Policy
Personal Information Policy
Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006
Information Privacy Act 2000
Public Administration Act
Equal Opportunity Act
This policy was endorsed on 20 December 2010.
This policy is effective from 1 March 2011
This policy is endorsed by: Julia Griffith, Executive Director, Regional and Executive Services
Modification and Review
The date the policy is due for review no greater than three years from the date of endorsement.
The General Manager, Corporate Communication is responsible for reviewing this policy.
Contact Jacqueline Page, Manager, Online Communication and New Media, Strategic
Communication Branch for further information about the policy on 868 40322.
Added: 16 February 2011Page views: 19,514Rating: 5Votes: 2