/>
X

Govt agencies move on social media policy

Federal Government departments have revealed they are moving ahead to implement social media policies, despite the government having not yet responded to recommendations in the Government 2.0 Taskforce report.
zd-defaultauthor-ben-grubb.jpg
Written by Ben Grubb on

Federal Government departments have revealed they are moving ahead to implement social media policies, despite the government having not yet responded to recommendations in the Government 2.0 Taskforce report.

Earlier this week the Department of Immigration and Citizenship unveiled its social media policy. "The new policy ... emphasises the importance of maintaining operational and personal security online, irrespective of whether staff are using the tools in their professional or personal capacities," Department of Immigration and Citizenship secretary Andrew Metcalfe said.

Other departments have revealed that they too are developing policies, including the Prime Minister's office, which said "The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is currently developing social media guidelines for both Prime Minister and Cabinet, and Prime Ministerial Office staff". The Department of Health and Ageing said it was also in the midst of forming guidelines.

The Department of Finance recently published a social media policy opening up Twitter and Facebook to staff.

The Department of Defence said it was also "engaged in an ongoing review" of policy regarding the use of social media by its personnel; however, it said that current Defence policy on social media was "encompassed within the same instructions that govern public comment and the dissemination of official information by Defence personnel".

"While there is a range of extremely positive opportunities within the social media environment that Defence is keen to pursue, Defence must also ensure that operational security, the safety of Defence personnel and their families, international relationships, and classified and private information are protected," it said. "Defence respects the rights of all personnel to exercise freedom of expression; however, Defence personnel are not authorised to release official information without clearance."

The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy said it was "well progressed" in developing a social media policy for staff.

"The department recognises the importance of the internet and particularly, social networking media as tools for staff in being able to communicate effectively, in doing their jobs," it said. "The department has taken the view that reasonable personal use of the internet and that the associated social media should be available to staff."

It said in allowing this it "encouraged staff to keep in mind any negative impact on productivity and ensure that their personal use is in keeping with the APS Values and the Code of Conduct".

Australia's spy operation, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, declined to comment, saying it did "not comment on specific policies". Though it did advise that it had a "comprehensive (classified) ASIO Information Security Policy".

Federal Government department Centrelink said it "actively" used social media to communicate with customers and the community, including a presence on Facebook, Twitter and in various online forums. As for staff, it said it expected them "to provide authorised information and clearly identify themselves as Centrelink employees". It didn't comment on whether it had a social media policy.

It appears that departments that have implemented an official social media policy, such as the Department of Immigration and Citizenship and the Department of Finance and Deregulation, still expect their staff to abide by the APS Values and Code of Conduct when online.

The Code of Conduct states public servants "may make public comment in a private capacity, so long as they make it clear they are expressing their own views".

However, the Code states that it is "not appropriate for APS employees to make public comment that could be perceived as ... being on behalf of the agency or government rather than a personal view", leaving the question on whether a public servant has to say they are not representing the government department they work for when commenting on something in a personal capacity.

Related

Apple politely explains why iPhone cases are a waste of money
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

Apple politely explains why iPhone cases are a waste of money

Apple
The 8 best iPhone models of 2022
iphone-12-models.png

The 8 best iPhone models of 2022

iPhone
Delta Air Lines just made a callous admission that customers may find galling
screen-shot-2022-07-18-at-5-18-46-pm.png

Delta Air Lines just made a callous admission that customers may find galling

Business