Published On: Sat, Sep 19th, 2015

Central employees must think before Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp post

New Delhi: Central government employees would be wise to ponder before posting and to think through their Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp posts in order to avoid running afoul of government policies, according to recent memorandum the Union Ministry of Communications and IT.

Representative photo

Representative photo

Rules called the central government employees, including officials of Army and para military forces, not to post service matters related grievances on social media like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

Though the central government employees are free to post response in their personal capacity, it is mandatory that while doing so they must clearly identify themselves and they must not divulge confidential and official information.

The guidance for posting Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp, the central government employees can consult with questions about the rules from the Department of Electronics and Information Technology. Violations can lead to disciplinary actions, up to firing.

One issue commonly arising, the guidance says, involves use of job titles on personal social media accounts. The rules generally require that employees avoid using their titles or positions in a way that would create an appearance that the government sanctions or endorses their activities or those of another.

There would be no violation if an employee merely includes his or her title or position in an area of the account for biographical information.

However, a violation might occur if an employee refers to his or her connection to the government as support for the employee’s statements.

Additionally, a violation could occur if an employee prominently features his or her office name, seal, uniform or similar items on the employee’s social media account or in connection with specific social media activities, among other situations.

Similarly, when recommending or endorsing another person, the employee’s title may appear in the biographical section of the employee’s account. But the employee must not affirmatively choose to include a reference to the employee’s title, position, or employer in a recommendation.

The rules against disclosing official activities information also apply to social media and use social media to criticise government policies, junior and senior officers’ behavior could violate the conduct rules and the charge of misconduct will be applied.

TST

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