Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Social media...asset or liability?

As more folks express their every thought online, local governments need to understand the pitfalls of social media to use it effectively and legally. Effective use of social media means looking at the communications, HR and IT liabilities as part of your strategy. Here are some tips for social media success from a 2013 Uptown article.

Local governments should make sure the person who manages the city's website and social media accounts understands social media policies and applicable laws concerning the archiving of posts.

According to the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act, a public record "includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used or in the possession of, or retained by, a public body."

As employers, local governments should have a social media policy and educate employees on acceptable uses and the consequences of unacceptable uses. As explained in this 2012 RiskLetter article, employers need to be aware of issues surrounding social media in employment decisions.

This 2011 Risk Letter article by labor attorney Kevin Sturm looks at legal issues surrounding social media communications by public employees, including the National Labor Relations Board views on employee online communications. In this 2011 Uptown articleyou’ll find rules of thumb for social media policies and links to resources for model policies.

Members of the Association’s SC Municipal Insurance Risk Financing Fund (property and liability pool) have access to model law enforcement policy on Internet Postings /Social Networking model policy that  was just updated in July 2013. Members of the SC Municipal Insurance Trust (workers comp pool) can access the model fire service policy on Internet Postings/Social networking that was just updated in March 2014. (Both of these documents are available only to pool members.)
By Meredith Kaiser, Loss Control Consultant, Municipal Association's Risk Management Services

No comments:

Post a Comment