Social Media

Policy

Purpose

This policy sets forth guidelines for the establishment and use by the Township of North Brunswick (Township) of its social media sites (including but not limited to Facebook and Twitter) as a means of conveying Township-related information to its residents, employees an visitors. The Township has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of the Township on its social media sites.

Definitions

“Social media” is understood to be content created by individuals, using accessible, expandable and upgradable publishing technologies, through and on the Internet. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snap Chat
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Flickr
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • RSS
  • MySpace
  • discussion blogs
  • websites
  • forums

For the purposes of this policy, “comments” refer to:

  • information
  • articles
  • pictures
  • photos and other images

Scope

This policy shall apply to all Township agencies and departments as well as any affiliated government or non-government agency or official and/or commission or council permitted by the Township to post on Township social media sites. It also applies to all Township employees, volunteers and public officials.

General Policy

  1. No Township social media site shall be established without prior approval of the Township Administrator. The use of any municipal department of the Township’s social media sites are subject to approval by the Township Administrator or his/her designees. All Township social media sites shall be administered by the Township Administrator and/or his/her designee.
  2. The Township social media sites shall clearly set forth that they are maintained by the Township and that they follow this Social Media Policy.
  3. The Township has the right to and will restrict or remove any content that it deems in violation of this Social Media Policy, any applicable law or for any other reason it deems appropriate in the exercise of its discretion. Any content removed based on these guidelines will be retained by the Township Administrator and/or his/her designee pursuant to the applicable Township retention policy, including the time, date and identity of the poster, when available.
  4. The Township’s official website at www.northbrunswicknj.gov shall remain the Township’s primary and predominant Internet presence.
  5. Wherever possible, the Township social media sites should link back to the official Township website for forms, documents, online services and other information necessary to conduct business with the Township.
  6. The Township social media sites are not to be used for making any official communications to the Township, for example, reporting crimes or misconduct, reporting dangerous conditions, giving notice required by any statute, ordinance or regulations such as, but not limited to, notices of claim(s).
  7. All postings by Township entities should be spelled correctly and use good grammar.
  8. This Social Media Policy shall be placed on the official Township website and all social media sites.
  9. The Township social media sites and this policy are subject to all applicable federal and New Jersey laws and regulations, as well as applicable record retention requirements.
  10. Any social media sites created by a Township employee, Township volunteer, Township official and/or Township entity remains the property of the Township, including all the followers and friends generated by the site and may be deleted by the Township if it deems it appropriate to do so in the exercise of its discretion.
  11. All site names, passwords and/or access codes or information or changes to these shall be filed with the Township Administrator.
  12. If the person who created the social medium leaves a Township entity, the passwords and/or access codes to the sites shall be changed and the new information shall be filed with the Township Administrator.
  13. Employees representing the Township government via its social media sites must conduct themselves at all times as a representative of the Township and in accordance with all its policies.
  14. Employees and volunteers who are not authorized to post official Township content or are authorized employees participating in social media usage while off-duty or in an unofficial capacity shall clearly indicate that the viewpoints they express are their own
    and do not necessarily reflect the Township’s official policy or position.
  15. Public Officials should take care to be limited to their activities on social media. Unlike employees or volunteers, they must make it clear that they are only participating in social media as a private citizen, their messages and posts are not in any official capacity, and the Township recommends they avoid expressing any information, details, answers to questions, conversations, corrections or anything related to the Township of
    North Brunswick on their private social media posts and messages.
  16. This Social Media Policy may be revised at any time by approval of the Township Administrator.

Comment Policy

  1. As a public entity, the Township must abide by certain standards to serve all its constituents in a civil and unbiased manner.
  2. The intended purpose behind establishing the Township social media sites is to disseminate information from the Township, about North Brunswick, to its residents, employees and visitors.
  3. Comments containing any of the following inappropriate forms of content shall not be permitted on the Township social media sites and are subject to removal and/or restriction by the Township Administrator and/or his/her designees:
  • Profane, obscene, violent, sexually suggestive or pornographic content and/or language or links to such materials.
  • Images or links containing minors or suspected minors in sexual and/or provocative situations. These will be reported to law enforcement.
  • Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or any other protected class;
  • Defamatory attacks;
  • Threats to any person, entity or organization;
  • Solicitation of commerce, including but not limited to, advertising of any business or product for sale with the exception of Township-sponsored events and/or items;
  • Solicitation of political support or political contributions;
  • Conduct in violation of any federal, state or local law;
  • Encouragement of illegal activity;
  • Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;
  • Content that violates a legal ownership interest, such as copyright or other infringement on intellectual property rights;
  • Private contact information, such as, but not limited to, names, addresses, phone numbers and/or e-mail addresses no matter how easily obtained elsewhere;
  • Personal information of a person other than the poster;
  • Spamming or repetitive content;
  • Comments from and participation of children under 13 cannot be posted in order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.
  1. A comment posted by a member of the public on any Township social media site is the opinion of the commentator or poster only, and publication of a comment does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, the Township, nor do such comments necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the Township.
  2. Any attempt to hack or otherwise compromise the Township’s Internet or social media sites will be reported to law enforcement and the perpetrator(s) will be denied access to the sites.
  3. The Township reserves the right to deny access to its social media sites for any individual who violates the Township Social Media Policy at any time and without prior notice.
  4. Township Departments shall monitor their social media sites for comments requesting responses from the Township and for comments in violation of this policy.
  5. No Township employee or volunteer shall share personal information about him/herself or other Township employees or volunteers.
  6. All comments posted to any Township Facebook site are bound by Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, located at http://www.facebook.com/terms/php. The Township reserves the right to report any violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to Facebook with the intent of Facebook taking appropriate and reasonable responsive action.
  7. All Township policies are applicable to interactions and postings on social media sites when acting in an official capacity and representing the Township.

Breach of Policy

  1. Postings on Township social media sites that are deemed to constitute a breach of this Policy as determined by the Township Administrator shall be removed subject to applicable archiving and retention requirements.
  2. Any Township employee or volunteer found by the Township Administrator to have violated any aspect of this Policy shall be banned from having a presence on Township social media for a period of time deemed appropriate by the Township in the exercise of its discretion.
  3. Any illegal activity shall be reported to the appropriate authorities.
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