The personal use of social media networking sites
- Definition of terms
- Introduction and scope
- Personal use of social media networking sites
- Personal conduct
- Monitoring of use
- Security issues
- Consequences of misuse
Social media is the term commonly used for websites which allow people to interact with each other, for example, by sharing information, opinions, knowledge and interests. Social media website content can include text, images, audio, and video
Examples of social media websites:-
- Social networking websites – Facebook, MySpace, Bebo
- Wikis - Wikipedia
- Video sharing - YouTube
- Presence apps – Twitter
BBSRC recognises the value to the organisation of using Social media websites in business related communication. It can be an effective way to respond to queries, keep stakeholders informed, and track and respond to mentions of BBSRC. You will need line management approval and to read and comply with office rules and policies before using social media tools and technologies for BBSRC associated work.
The purpose of this policy is to identify proper usage and behaviour for social media applications used on a personal basis, with the overall aim of protecting the rights and privacy of all employees and the integrity and reputation of BBSRC. It should be read in conjunction with employment code - appendix A2.2 , “The code of practice covering the use of computer facilities and communications systems” which contains full details of the rules surrounding non work related communication and use of BBSRC’s computing facilities.
All employees should read and understand the code of practice, as well as any local policies and rules, before using social networking sites on a personal basis.
BBSRC generally permits employees limited and reasonable use of computing facilities, including access to social media networking sites for personal use during non working time, for example at lunch time.
Employees are fully responsible for their own actions and the consequences of their actions when accessing these sites.
BBSRC reserves the right to restrict access to social media networking websites
BBSRC must ensure that confidentiality and organisational reputation are protected. It therefore expects employees using social networking websites on a personal basis to refrain from identifying themselves as working for BBSRC.
If an employee does identify their association with BBSRC they are expected to:
- Not include comments about BBSRC, colleagues or stakeholders
- Ensure that they do not conduct themselves in a way that could be detrimental to BBSRC, which may bring the organisation into disrepute or undermine the employment relationship
- Take care not to allow their interaction on these websites to damage working relationships between members of staff and other stakeholders
- Never send abusive or defamatory messages
- Not to discuss BBSRC business using these sites but direct enquiries to appropriate business channels
The use of BBSRC computer and communications systems is automatically logged and monitored in order to prevent unauthorised use of the system. Detailed investigations of communications activity may be undertaken where a specific need has been identified. These processes are explained in appendix A2.2, paragraph 12.
Employees should be aware that social media networking websites are a public forum, particularly if the employee is part of a "network". Employees should not assume that their entries on any website will remain private. The content of social media websites could potentially remain online forever and is open to being republished in other media.
Employees are advised to be security conscious for example by making use of and understanding their online privacy settings. In practice this means being aware of who can see their personal details and generally limiting the amount of personal information that they give out. Reducing the personal information placed on such sites also helps to protect against identity theft.
In addition, to safeguard the organisation, when using social networking websites in a personal capacity, employees should:
- Ensure that no information is made available that could provide a person with unauthorised access to the establishment/BBSRC and/or any confidential work related information
- Refrain from recording any confidential information regarding the establishment/BBSRC on any social networking website
- Always comply with BBSRC and local policies, as well as national and international legislation
- Not collect and use information from social networking sites such as Facebook
Misuse of social media networking sites may lead to action in line with BBSRC’s disciplinary procedure, (see A12b:4: Main page ) and could lead to legal or criminal prosecution.
For example any communications that employees make in a personal capacity through social media must not:
- Do anything that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of colleagues, for example by making offensive or derogatory comments relating to age, sex, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, or gender reassignment; using social media to bully another employee; posting images that are discriminatory or offensive (or links to such content)
- Bring the organisation into disrepute, for example by making defamatory statements about BBSRC, its employees or stakeholders; criticising colleagues or stakeholders
- Breach confidentiality, for example by giving away confidential information about a colleague or the organisation
Last amended 20/10/2011
Amendment 136 - October 2011