East Devon District Council

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Policy Social Media Policy

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3. Legal Considerations

Any form of communication is rife with the possibility of misunderstandings.  Social media is perhaps no more or less vulnerable to this but there are some new ways to misfire with your message!

Although the best use of social media is conversational in tone, publishing on the web is still publishing.   It is important to remember that you are responsible for what you publish on social media.  Authorised Users need to be acutely aware that anything on an Official Site, published on behalf of the Council, reflects upon the Council and its reputation.

In general terms, content must not be published which may result in actions which may be discriminatory, defamatory, breach copyright, data protection or other claims for damages.   This includes (but is not limited to) material of an illegal, sexual or offensive nature.  Any such content published by a third party must be evidenced (through a screenshot or other robust method) and retained separately before it is removed.

When responding to negative content posted by third parties, it is important to acknowledge their view in a neutral way, state what will be done regarding their comment and if necessary, evidence their comment before removing it.  Please refer to 5.2 and Appendix D for further guidance.  Users should not make statements which affirm or support the comments and should avoid inviting further responses/dialiogue on the matter.

Content for the promotion of personal financial interests, personal commercial ventures or personal campaigns must not be published on corporate accounts.

 Authorised Users must never publish pictures of children or young people aged under-18 on social media unless they have express written parental permission as part of a signed official permission form. This form is available from the Communications Team.

Officers should refer to the Guidance for Officers (Appendix B) which forms part of the Council’s Social Media Policy.  This outlines important rules when using social media in either a Council or personal capacity.

Councillors should refer to the Guidance for Councillors (Appendix C) which forms part of the Council’s Social Media Policy.  This outlines important rules for using social media either as a Councillor or as an individual.