Social Media Policy
City of Wheaton Social Media Policy
Summary and Purpose
The use of social media allows the City of Wheaton to expand communications efforts with our citizens by engaging in conversations that provide and share information in real time related to topics posted by the City on its Social Media sites. It is the intent of this policy that social media platforms used by the City are “limited public forums” as defined by First Amendment case law. The purpose of this policy is to define and outline acceptable use of social media sites and resources in City government.
Examples of social media that the City may use include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Pinterest, Vimeo, YouTube, photo and video sharing sites, virtual worlds and other sites that allow interactive posting of information, images, video and comments.
This policy shall apply to all City departments as well as any affiliated government or non-government agency or official permitted by the City to post on the City’s social media sites. This policy applies to the use of social networking sites in the course of conducting official City business and is not intended to address employees’ personal use of social media networking sites. Employees should also make themselves aware of City policies pertaining to personal use of social media networking sites and the potential ways that use could impact their employment with the City.
The City's social media program involves establishing an online presence that offers citizens various ways to receive City updates and information. The choice of platforms the City uses, does not use, or whether it continues to maintain an interactive social media presence remains at the discretion of the City. The City’s Communications Department is responsible for the creation, administration, updating and monitoring of official City of Wheaton social media. No City department shall create a separate social media account without the written approval of the Public Information Officer.
Postings on City social media sites may only be made through official City accounts that are recognizable as being affiliated with the City. Official postings on City social media sites shall only be made by City employees authorized to post as a representative spokesperson of the City. City employees not authorized to act as a representative spokesperson shall not represent themselves as such if posting as a private citizen. The City’s official seal and other departmental symbols and logos are the exclusive property of the City, are legally protected and may not be used by others without the City’s written consent.
Authorized personnel shall not intentionally delete comments left on the City’s social media accounts by Citizens unless they are Prohibited Content as described herein, or do not qualify for First Amendment protection as determined in consultation with the City Attorney. If authorized personnel have any questions as to whether content is prohibited, they should contact the City Attorney.
Third party information from City partners may be shared through social media so long as it conforms to the guidelines established under the City’s communications plan.
The City’s social media sites are subject to State of Illinois Public Records Laws; therefore content shall be managed, stored, retrieved and deleted to comply with these laws.
Wherever possible, City social media sites shall link back to www.wheaton.il.us for additional information.
The following content is prohibited and subject to removal:
- Comments unrelated to the particular City post purportedly being commented upon
- Comments that promote, foster, or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation
- Comments containing vulgar, offensive, profane, or physically threatening language, personal attacks, or unsupported accusations
- Language that promotes or provokes violence
- Content that violates any cyber-crime or other criminal law
- Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems
- Comments from children under 13 (to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection ACT) - by posting on the City’s site, users acknowledge that they are at least 13 years old
- Photographs or videos unrelated to the particular post being commented upon
- Personal information of any person such as social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, bank accounts, address or telephone numbers
- Private information as defined by State or Federal statute, regulations or written City policies adopted in conformance with the law
- Spamming or repetitive content such as posting the same content more than two times in the same location
- Sexual content or links to sexual content
- Solicitations of commercial sales or commercial links
- Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
- Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party including trade secrets (information regarding the development of systems, processes, products and technology), internal reports, policies, procedures and confidential communications
- Content promoting the use of Illegal or banned substances and narcotics
- Comments in support or opposition to political campaigns, ballot measures or referendums
The City of Wheaton has not evaluated the facts or information contained in public comments and does not endorse any position, product, business or non-official statement that may be on any of its social media sites.