Our new Social Media Policy

In response to recent actions taken by staff online, Comma Press has recognised the need to review and revise its policy regarding the use of social media.  

This policy is intended for staff members of all levels, interns and trustees, and sets out guidelines on how social media should be used to support the delivery and promotion of Comma Press, and the use of social media by staff in both a professional and personal capacity. It sets out what staff need to be aware of when interacting in these spaces and is designed to help staff support and expand our official social media channels, while protecting the organisation and its reputation, as well as those we engage with. 

All of Comma’s policies are integral to the organisation’s vision and business plan and in some cases directly link to its legal, ethical and public funding obligations.

 

Social Media Policy  

Social media is essential to the success of communicating Comma Press's work. It is important for some staff to participate in social media to engage with our audience, participate in relevant conversations and raise the profile of our work.

Before engaging in work-related social media activity, staff must read this policy.

 

Guidelines for responsible use of social media

The Engagement Manager is responsible for setting up and managing Comma Press’s social media channels. Only those authorised to do so by the Engagement Manager will have access to these accounts.

Avoid making any social media communications that could damage Comma Press’s integrity or reputation, our confidential information and intellectual property.  

Be respectful to others when making any statement on social media and be aware that you are personally responsible for all communications which will be published on the internet for anyone to see. 

Staff must not use social media to defame or disparage the organisation, our staff or any third party; to harass, bully or unlawfully discriminate against staff or third parties; to make false or misleading statements; or to impersonate colleagues or third parties.

Make sure that all social media content has a purpose and a benefit for Comma Press, and accurately reflects Comma Press’s agreed position.

Refrain from offering personal opinions via Comma Press's social media accounts, either directly by commenting and messaging accounts, or indirectly by 'liking', 'sharing' or 'retweeting'. 

Always check facts. Staff should not automatically assume that material is accurate and should take reasonable steps where necessary to seek verification.

Take care with the presentation of content. Make sure that there are no typos, misspellings or grammatical errors. Also check the quality of images.

Be honest. Say what you know to be true or have a good source for. If you've made a mistake, don't be afraid to admit it.

If a complaint is made on Comma Press’s social media channels, staff should seek advice from the Publishing Manager before responding.

 

Use of personal social media accounts 

Staff should make it clear in social media postings, or in their personal profile, that they are speaking on their own behalf.

If staff do disclose their affiliation with Comma Press on their profile or in any social media postings, they must state that their views do not represent those of Comma Press (unless they are authorised to speak on our behalf as set out above).   

Staff who have, or plan to have, a personal blog or website which indicates in any way that they work at Comma Press should discuss any potential conflicts of interest with the Publishing Manager.  

Those in senior management, and specialist roles where they are well known in their field of expertise, must take particular care as personal views published may be misunderstood as expressing Comma Press’s view.

If a staff member is contacted by the press about their social media posts that relate to Comma Press, they should talk to the Publishing Manager immediately and under no circumstances respond directly.

Never use Comma Press's logos or trademarks unless approved to do so. Permission to use logos should be requested from the Publishing Manager.

Always protect yourself and the organisation. Be careful with your privacy online and be cautious when sharing personal information. What you publish is widely accessible and will be around for a long time, so do consider the content carefully. When you are using social media sites at work, it is important that you do so safely. 

Use common sense and good judgement. Be aware of your association with Comma Press and ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you wish to present yourself to the general public, colleagues, partners and funders.

 

Breach of this policy

Breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.  Any member of staff suspected of committing a breach of this policy will be required to co-operate with our investigation, which may involve handing over relevant passwords and login details.

Staff may be required to remove any social media content that Comma Press considers to constitute a breach of this policy. Failure to comply with such a request may in itself result in disciplinary action.

 

Further guidelines

Libel

Libel is when a false written statement that is damaging to a person's reputation is published online or in print. Whether staff are posting content on social media as part of their job or in a personal capacity, they should not bring Comma Press into disrepute by making defamatory comments about individuals or other organisations or groups.

Copyright law

It is critical that all staff abide by the laws governing copyright, under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. Never use or adapt someone else's images or written content without permission. Failing to acknowledge the source/author/resource citation, where permission has been given to reproduce content, is also considered a breach of copyright.

Confidentiality

Any communications that staff make in a personal capacity must not breach confidentiality. For example, information meant for internal use only or information that Comma Press is not ready to disclose yet. For example, a news story that is embargoed for a particular date. 

Discrimination and harassment

Staff should not post content that could be considered discriminatory against, or bullying or harassment of, any individual, on either an official Comma social media channel or a personal account. For example:

·       making offensive or derogatory comments relating to sex, gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, religion or belief

·       using social media to bully another individual

·       posting images that are discriminatory or offensive or links to such content

Use of social media in the recruitment process

Recruitment should be carried out in accordance with Comma’s recruitment policy, and associated procedures and guidelines. There should be no systematic or routine checking of candidate's online social media activities during the recruitment process.