The policy sets out:
- how the Government Economics Network (GEN) will use social media platforms
- the roles and responsibilities of the GEN’s Board, the Communications and Engagement Committee, Director of Operations and individual Board members
- how GEN will mitigate the risks from the misuse of social media platforms.
How GEN will use social media platforms
GEN will use social media platforms to promote its own activities, share information from other organisations that is likely to be of interest to GEN’s members (such as job adverts or events), and connect with interested parties. GEN will use the following social media platforms for this purpose:
Role of the GEN Board
The GEN Board is responsible for agreeing GEN’s social media policy
Role of the Communications and Engagement Committee
GEN’s Communications and Engagement Committee is responsible for:
- Periodically reviewing GEN’s social media policy
- Recommending to the Board any changes to GEN’s social media policy
- Investigating complaints about the misuse of GEN social media platforms
- Agreeing the response to concerns raised by the Director of Operations about the misuse of GEN’s social media platforms, e.g. blocking and/or reporting third parties.
Role of GEN’s Director of Operations
GEN’s Director of Operations is responsible for:
- Preparing and posting items on GEN’s social media platforms as GEN (the entity)
- Ensuring any posts made by GEN (the entity) comply with GEN’s social media policy
- Keeping a list of those Board members who have access to GEN’s social media accounts up-to-date
- Monitoring third party comments on GEN’s social media platforms
- Removing any posts as soon as practically possible that do not comply with GEN’s social media policy
- Raising concerns about any posts by third parties that GEN (the entity) and/or a GEN Board member does not agree with, eg because they are factually inaccurate or misrepresent the situation, with the Communications and Engagement Committee to agree an appropriate response
- Raising concerns or complaints about the misuse of GEN’s social media platforms with the Communications and Engagement Committee to agree an appropriate response.
Role of individual GEN Board members
Individual GEN Board members can, in their personal capacity:
- Share GEN’s social media posts through their own social media networks
- Post comments or responses on GEN’s social media platforms
- Tag GEN’s Twitter and LinkedIn handles in their posts about GEN.
Board members must ensure their posts about GEN in their personal capacity comply with GEN’s social media policy.
Board members, when posting comments on GEN’s social media platforms, should consider whether the post should be posted by GEN (the entity) rather than by them in their personal capacity, e.g. because the post would reflect the views of the Board rather than just the individual Board member.
GEN Board members can post job adverts as GEN (the entity) without the need of seeking permission from the Director of Operations if they have access to GEN’s social media accounts.
If a Board member thinks the comment should be posted by GEN (the entity) rather than in their personal capacity, then the Board member should raise this with GEN’s Director of Operations to agree an appropriate response.
This also applies in situations where the Board member believes a third-party post on GEN’s social media platforms is factually inaccurate or misrepresents the situation. In this case, the Director of Operations will raise the matter with the Communications and Engagement Committee to agree an appropriate response.
The Director of Operations and/or the Communications and Engagement Committee will have regard to the following factors when considering whether GEN (the entity) or a Board member should respond to a third-party post:
- the topic of the post is most relevant to a Board member’s area of expertise or interest (if so, then the Board member should respond)
- the response is likely to prompt further posts by the third party (or other parties), requiring further prompt responses (if so, then the Board member should respond)
- compliance with GEN’s social media policy, particularly avoiding escalation.
If the Director of Operations and the Communications and Engagement Committee agree it is appropriate for GEN (the entity) to respond, then the Director of Operations will post the item on the Board member’s behalf.
If GEN (the entity) has responded or is planning to respond to a third-party post then Board members should refrain from making additional comments in their personal capacity to avoid escalation.
Mitigating the risks from the misuse of social media platforms
There are risks associated with using social media platforms, including reputational damage arising from misuse, threats to the security of sensitive or confidential information and exposure to malware.
GEN will mitigate these risks by ensuring any posts (irrespective of who made the post) on its social media platforms do not/are not:
- disclose sensitive personal facts about an individual
- include photos or videos of individuals unless those individuals have given prior consent to sharing the photos and videos online
- threatening, intimidating or menacing
- grossly offensive to a reasonable person in the position of the affected individual
- indecent or obscene
- harass an individual
- make a false allegation
- contain a matter that is published in breach of confidence
- incite or encourage anyone to send a message to an individual for the purpose of causing harm to the individual
- incite or encourage at individual to commit suicide
- denigrate an individual by reason of their colour, race, ethnic or national origins, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
GEN Board members when posting about GEN in their personal capacity and the Director of Operations when posting on behalf of GEN (the entity) should follow these general rules:
- posts must also comply with GEN’s Code of Conduct
- if unsure, don’t post it – err on the side of caution. If you feel an update or message might cause complaints or offence — or be otherwise unsuitable — don’t post it. If in doubt, consult the Director of Operations for advice.
- be thoughtful and polite. Adopt the same level of courtesy used when communicating via email. Before you post, ensure that you are enhancing GEN’s reputation.
- look out for security threats – be on guard for social engineering and phishing attempts as social networks are also used to distribute spam and malware.
- don’t make promises without first checking with the Director of Operations on our ability to deliver.
- handle complex queries via other channels – social networks are not a good place to resolve complicated enquiries.
- don’t escalate things – it’s easy to post a quick response to a contentious status update and then regret it. Take the time to think before responding and check with the Director of Operations if you have any doubts.