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Principles & Policies for Managing Human Resources

3.2.2.  Social Media Policy


POLICY STATEMENT

Employee obligations as outlined in the Oath or Affirmation of Office/Allegiance, Employee Network Usage Policy, Conflict of Interest Policy and Values and Ethics Guide apply at all times when using social media.


INTENT

Social media is a valuable tool for providing information, promoting awareness of Manitoba government programs and services, and engaging with stakeholders and the public.  With social media use becoming increasingly common, there is an expectation that when using social media, employees conduct themselves in a manner consistent with their function and role as Manitoba government employees.


POLICY APPLICATION

This policy applies to all government employees who use social media for official, employment-related or personal purposes. Social media refers to publicly-accessible Manitoba government and third-party-hosted social media platforms and sites. This includes, but is not limited to, social networks, video and photo file sharing, social bookmarking, blogs, micro-blogs, podcasting, wikis and other similar tools. Social media also refers to freely accessible online tools used to produce, post and interact using text, images, video, and audio to communicate, share, collaborate, or network.


GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Employees must not post, comment on and/or disclose confidential information or matters concerning the government or department, branch or agency in which they are employed, or information which comes to their knowledge solely by virtue of their employment.
  • Employees must not disclose information, make commitments or engage in activities on behalf of the Manitoba government online, unless authorized to do so by a designated government authority.
  • Employees must be aware that personal thoughts they publish online, even through use of a personal account during or outside of working hours, may be misunderstood as expressing the positions or opinions of the Manitoba government. Employees are advised to exercise caution and are advised to check with their respective manager or Communications Services Manitoba (CSM) if they are unsure whether an intended communication is appropriate.
  • All conversations on social media networks should be considered public rather than private. Any post, photo, comment, etc. posted on the internet may be permanent despite efforts to delete them.
  • Employees will be held accountable for what they post online, even when using a disclaimer such as “My views are my own” or equivalent. Inappropriate conduct using social media which may bring disrepute to the employer or government employees may be investigated and subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
  • Employees must not cross-promote personal social media accounts on Manitoba government communication tools (eg. listing a personal Twitter account in their government e-mail signature).
  • Employees must not tag others in pictures or posts with official or employment-related social media accounts unless they have been designated as an official spokesperson, and if tagged by others, must take steps to have the tag removed.
  • All requests for statements or interviews from media must be forwarded to CSM.

 
Official Social Media Use

Official social media use refers to use of social media for the purpose of communicating on behalf of a Manitoba government program area. This includes social media accounts with an official Manitoba government avatar or updated by designated government employees.

Authorization from CSM and approval from department executive is required to open an official social media channel.

Please refer to CSM Social Media Guidelines for more information on official use of social media.


Employment-related Social Media Use

Employment-related social media refers to the authorized use of social media as part of job responsibilities by an employee or program area of a department in support of department objectives (e.g. communication with stakeholders or with the public relating to matters of public interest or safety). 
Employees must receive department approval prior to establishing or utilizing a social media account for employment-related purposes. Departments should consult with CSM as part of the approval process.


Personal Social Media Use

Personal social media use refers to an employee’s use of social media for social, educational, professional development, or other purposes unrelated to their employment.  Employees must not use an account name, handle, id, government email or user name that identifies them by their position, job title, or as a Manitoba government employee. 

Note that personal social media accounts, even if used for professional development purposes, must not use a Manitoba government logo, and must not speak or be perceived to speak on behalf of the Manitoba government.

Employees are expected to use caution and discretion when establishing social media contacts or ‘friendships’ with clients.


ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES


Employees

  • Adhere to government policies, standards and guidelines while using social media.
  • Bring social media concerns forward to their manager in a timely manner.
  • Seek approval from department executive and CSM before opening any social media account for official or employment-related purposes.
  • Cooperate in resolving situations involving use of social media.


Managers

  • Assess and identify reasonable solutions to employee concerns in a timely manner.
  • Document the concerns brought forward by the employee(s) and the steps taken to resolve the issue.
  • Implement and monitor solutions in a timely manner.
  • Consult with Communication Services Manitoba, human resource practitioners, and/or labour relations as required.


Human Resource Practitioners

  • Advise managers and employees on the interpretation and application of this policy.
  • Support the resolution of issues as required.


Departments

  • Ensure that the policy expectations are communicated to all staff.
  • Review and authorize requests to use of social media in support of department objectives and the department’s overall communications strategy.

 

RELATED POLICIES AND LEGISLATION

The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Act
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act
The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)
Employee Network Usage Policy
Values and Ethics Guide
Conflict of Interest Policy
Respectful Workplace and Harassment Prevention Policy
Internet and Social Media Policy
Communications Services Manitoba Social Media Guidelines
Oath or Affirmation of Office/Allegiance


OTHER RESOURCES

Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat
House of Commons Report on Social Media


AUTHORITY

  • Treasury Board Minute 35B/2015
 

Owner:

Civil Service Commission

Additional information:

Civil Service Commission
Phone: 204-945-2332
TDD/TTY: 204-945-1437
Email: csc@gov.mb.ca

 

Effective date: September 15, 2015

 


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