OMWD Social Media and Outreach Policy

1. PURPOSE

The District has an overriding interest in protecting the integrity of information posted on social media platforms or websites that are attributed to the District and to its officials. The purpose of this policy, therefore, is to establish guidelines, standards and instructions for the use of social media sites by the District.

Messages and content posted on a District social media site may constitute speech on behalf of the District, but such speech takes place on a non-District venue. Therefore, the District Board of Directors finds and intends that speech posted on a social media site venue by District representatives, and comments by the public posted on a social media site venue in response, do not create a public forum or limited public forum on any portion of the District’s websites, equipment or other District property.

2. DEFINITIONS

“Social media sites”: 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, Blogs, RSS, and YouTube.

“District social media sites”: social media sites the District establishes and maintains, and over which it controls all postings, except for advertisements or hyperlinks by the social media site’s owners, vendors, or partners. Any District social media site shall supplement, and not replace, the District’s required notices and standard methods of communication.

“Posts” or “postings”: information, articles, pictures, videos or any other form of communication placed on a District social media site.
“Site contributor”: designated District staff member responsible for posting information and monitoring comments under the direction of the site manager.

“Site manager”: designated District staff member responsible for establishing District and department-specific social media sites, with responsibility for supervising the site contributor.

3.0 GENERAL POLICY

3.1 The District’s official website at www.olivenhain.com (or any domain owned by the District) will remain the District’s primary means of internet communication. Use of social media shall only serve as an enhancement to the District’s official website. Therefore, information and communications should be organized in a manner that avoids the posting of duplicative or conflicting information.

3.2 The establishment of a District social media site is subject to approval by the District General Manager or his/her designee. Upon approval, District social media sites shall bear the name and/or official logo of the District.

3.3 Only those authorized by the District’s General Manager to speak on behalf of the District and convey information regarding District programs, projects, policies or any other such District business on social media platforms may communicate on the District’s behalf on the subject of District matters on any social media platform. This includes initiating statements on, or responding to comments received from, various social media outlets in any manner that members of the public might perceive as a statement on behalf of the District. All content on District social media sites shall be reviewed, approved, and administered by the designated site contributor under the supervision of a designated site manager.

3.4 District social media sites shall clearly state that such sites are maintained by the District and that the sites comply with the District’s Social Media Policy.

3.5 District social media sites shall link back to the District’s official website for forms, documents, online services and other information necessary to conduct business with the District.

3.6 The District’s site manager and site contributor shall monitor content on District social media sites to ensure adherence to both the District’s Social Media Policy and the interests and goals of the District.

3.7 District social media sites shall be managed consistent with the Ralph M. Brown Act. The Brown Act specifically prohibits members of a legislative body from communicating through technological devices in discussing, deliberating, or taking action on any item within the subject matter jurisdiction of the legislative body. This could happen on any social media site, even inadvertently, if a majority of the members of the District’s Board of Directors were to post comments on a District-related issue (even if Directors are merely responding to a constituent’s post). Therefore, Members of the District Board of Directors and members of Board Committees shall not respond to, “like”, “share”, retweet or otherwise participate in any published postings, or use the site or any form of electronic communication to respond to, blog or engage in serial meetings, or otherwise discuss, deliberate, or express opinions on any issue within the subject matter jurisdiction of the body.

3.8 The California Fair Political Practices Commission and courts may view the District’s social media page as a public resource. District staff and Directors should, therefore, keep campaign regulations in mind and avoid any type of campaigning on a District page pursuant to applicable law. Neither elected officials nor District staff may use public resources for personal or campaign purposes not authorized by law. Public officials are aware of the restrictions on using public resources for either personal or political purposes pursuant to Government Code section 8314.

3.9 The District reserves the right to terminate any District social media site at any time without notice.

3.10 The use of the District’s social media sites shall be in strict conformity with all applicable provisions of the District’s Administrative and Ethics Code.

3.11 District social media sites shall comply with usage rules and regulations required by the site provider, including privacy policies.

3.12 The District’s Social Media and Outreach Policy shall be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink.

3.13 All District social media sites shall adhere to applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and policies.

3.14 District social media sites may be subject to the California Public Records Act. Any content maintained on a District social media site that is related to District business, including a list of subscribers, posted communication, and communication submitted for posting, may be considered a public record and subject to public disclosure. The District’s Record Retention Schedule shall incorporate records series reflecting District social media account activity, including comments/posts deleted by the District in accordance with this Policy.

3.15 Employees representing the District on District social media sites shall conduct themselves at all times as a professional representative of the District and in accordance with all District policies.

3.16 All District social media sites shall utilize authorized District contact information for account set-up, monitoring and access. The use of personal email accounts or phone numbers by any District employee is not allowed for the purpose of setting-up, monitoring, or accessing a District social media site.

3.17 District social media sites may contain content, including but not limited to, advertisements or hyperlinks over which the District has no control. The District does not endorse any hyperlink or advertisement placed on District social media sites by the social media site’s owners, vendors, or partners.

3.18 The District reserves the right to change, modify, or amend all or part of this policy at any time.

4. CONTENT GUIDELINES

4.1 The content of District social media sites shall only pertain to District-sponsored or District-endorsed programs, services, and events. Content includes, but is not limited to, information, photographs, videos, and hyperlinks.

4.2 Content posted to the District’s social media sites must contain hyperlinks directing users back to the District’s official website for in-depth information, forms, documents or online services necessary to conduct business with the District, whenever possible.

4.3 The District shall have full permission or rights to any content posted by the District, including photographs and videos.

4.4 Postings shall be made during normal business hours. After-hours or weekend postings shall only be made with approval of the District’s General Manager or his/her designee.

4.5 Any employee authorized to post items on any of the District’s social media sites shall review, be familiar with, and comply with the social media site’s use policies and terms and conditions.

4.6 Postings on any District social media site by an authorized District employee shall relate only to the purpose of communicating information of public interest regarding functions, activities, programs and goals of the District, and to facilitate the community’s ability to learn about and participate in the same. Postings shall not include any personal views or concerns of District employees.

4.7 Postings must contain information that is freely available to the public and not be confidential as defined by any District policy or state or federal law.

4.8 Postings may NOT contain any personal information, except for the name(s) of District employee(s) whose job duty(ies) includes being available for contact by the public.

4.9 Postings to District social media sites shall NOT contain any of the following:

4.9.1 Comments that are not topically related to the posting;

4.9.2 Comments in support of, or opposition to, political campaigns, candidates or ballot measures;

4.9.3 Profane language or content;

4.9.4 Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation, as well as any other category protected by federal, state, or local laws;

4.9.5 Sexual content or links to sexual content;

4.9.6 Solicitations of commerce;

4.9.7 Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity;

4.9.8 Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;

4.9.9 Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party; or

4.9.10 Content posted by District employees that may incite disruption in the workplace.

4.10 These guidelines shall be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink on all District social media sites. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster, when available.

4.11 The District reserves the right to implement or remove any functionality of its social media site, when deemed appropriate by the District’s site manager. This includes, but is not limited to, information, articles, pictures, videos or any other form of communication that is posted on a District social media site.

4.12 Except as expressly provided in this Policy, accessing any social media site shall comply with all applicable District policies pertaining to communications and the use of the internet by employees, including email content.

4.13 All of the content on a District social media site must be provided to the District’s site contributor or site manager for review, approval and subsequent posting to the social media site.