Social Media Policy
All employees working for the Department of Enterprise, Investment & Trade must comply with the Social Media Policy.
The aim of this policy is to:
- ensure social media activity does not jeopardise the confidentiality of corporate, staff, personal, and client information;
- provide clear guidance on appropriate online behaviour and communications;
- support a workplace culture free from any form of violence, bullying, harassment and/or discrimination; and
- promote respectful workplace relationships through ethical and professional online behaviour, interactions and communications.
Comments made on social media are in the public domain and should be considered public in a similar way to comments made in media or in a public forum. Comments or posts on social media with any reference to DEIT or its partner agencies may be taken to be work-related, irrespective of how and where they are published.
This policy is aimed principally at DEIT staff social media activity. Authorised use of official DEIT channels is dictated by the NSW Government Social Media Guidelines.
Specifically, this policy applies to:
- all staff, including leaders and supervisors, whether employed on a permanent, temporary, casual, intern or cadetship basis;
- all contractors and agency workers performing work for or on behalf of the DEIT;
- any member of another public sector agency on secondment to the DEIT;
- work experience students and volunteers; and
- all vendors/suppliers.
The term ‘staff’ is used in this policy to cover all DEIT executives, managers, staff, contractors, and volunteers within and outside Australia.
Social Media Definition
Social media refers to social media sites, applications, tools and platforms that provide users with online infrastructure and resources to connect and communicate and exchange content or information online. They include but are not limited to:
- Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tik Tok, Snapchat, YouTube, WhatsApp, Yammer, Reddit, Medium blogs and WordPress blogs.
Activity on social media governed by this policy includes, but is not limited to:
- live streams
- retweets or reposts
Staff use of social media
- All social media usage by staff can become public, and may become subject to this policy regardless of whether it was intended to be private.
- Social media that directly or indirectly results in damage to DEIT, its partner agencies; brings DEIT into disrepute; and/or impacts the safety, health and wellbeing of colleagues and customers may be considered a breach of this policy. When in doubt, staff should seek guidance from their manager on how to comply with their obligations under this policy.
- DEIT will not subsidise or fund personal social media accounts, including LinkedIn or LinkedIn Premium.
Appropriate use of social media
Social media commentary may be governed by this policy even if shared anonymously or without any workplace reference in a social media profile if the content does not meet the following standards.
- treat clients, colleagues and other public officials with respect, courtesy, honesty and fairness;
- clearly separate private opinions from DEIT’s official position. A disclaimer should be used when expressing private views related to your work, and there can be no implication that the department endorses any private opinions;
- only disclose and discuss publicly available information about DEIT. For clarification about what information is available in the public domain, liaise with the DEIT Media and Corporate Affairs team;
- only publish content that is accurate;
- be aware that commenting on government may be deemed a breach of the policy if the social media is not respectful, courteous, honest and fair; and
- refer any media interest generated through the use of social media to the relevant media contact for management using the DEIT's Media and External Event Policy.
Staff should not:
- create, publish, search, or share social media that is, or might be perceived as threatening, harassing, bullying or discriminatory towards DEIT and partner agency colleagues, or stakeholders;
- publish or share colleagues’ personal information;
- publish or share private work-related contact information, e.g. phone numbers or similar information on social media. Publishing a work phone number or email that isn’t in the public domain can only be done with express permission from the DEIT Media and Corporate Affairs Team;
- publish or share client related information including any material deemed private or personal information. This includes client names, addresses, or photographs;
- publish or share details of transactions or engagements clients have with DEIT unless this is expressly agreed in writing with a signed release form (e.g. media case studies);
- publish or share content that fails to meet reasonable community standards which could damage the reputation of the staff member or the organisation.
Official Departmental use of social media
- Social media account activity for or on behalf of DEIT is centralised as a service within the Operations team unless otherwise approved in writing by the Director, Communications, Media, Marketing and Engagement.
- You must not establish or operate a social media account for or on behalf of DEIT unless authorised in writing from the Director, Communications, Media, Marketing and Engagement.
- You should not provide client care or insider commentary about DEIT on social media, unless otherwise authorised in writing by the Director, Communications, Media, Marketing and Engagement.
Final approvals for organic and paid social media publication will be determined by the centralised media unit in-line with the NSW Government Social Media Guidelines.
Preventing bullying, harassment and discrimination in social media
You must treat colleagues with respect and dignity, and have proper regard for their interests, rights, safety, health and welfare. This extends to online behaviour, interactions and communication. DEIT will not tolerate any form of conduct, online behaviour and communication which is, or may be perceived as threatening, bullying, harassing and / or discriminatory. This includes online conduct, comments, and communication by staff members either during or out of office hours, or when using a private social media platform. In particular, staff must not make comment about another person’s:
- marital status
- carer’s responsibilities
- disability or illness
- sexual preference (presumed or actual)
- transgender status (presumed or actual)
- political opinion/affiliation
- involvement (or non-involvement) with union associations, professional associations, or related associations
- image or
Breaches of this Policy
This policy does not intend to discourage nor unduly limit a staff member’s online activities. However, all staff should ensure that their conduct is consistent with the Code of Ethics and Conduct and other relevant legislative requirements and the responsibilities contained in this policy.
DEIT may commence disciplinary action if a person to whom this Policy applies breaches this Policy (or any of its related procedures) up to and including termination of employment.
Relevant Policies and Documents
Below lists the DCS documentation that supports or is referred to in this document.
- Code of Ethics and Conduct
- NSW Government Social Media Guidelines
- Media and external event Policy
The Department may amend this policy from time to time as appropriate.
Next Review Date
Executive Director, Strategic Communications and Engagement
1 July 2022
1 July 2023