Montclair Township Social Media Policy

The purpose of this social media policy is to establish enforceable rules for the use of social media by Township officers and employees when engaged in Township business. Social media at this time refers to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GooglePlus, and any other form of communication that is open to response or comment. Rules are necessary to assure that communications made on behalf of the Township are properly authorized and in correct form; that communications to the municipality by means of social media which can be viewed by the public are appropriate and pertinent; that all communications to the municipality are directed to the proper recipient; and that the sender is clearly and fully informed that a message received by means of social media is not a substitute for required reporting procedures.

The objective of the use of social media by the Township or its departments is to expand and facilitate communication between the Township and its residents, taxpayers and the general public, so that interested citizens may also share township information. Users are encouraged to submit comments, questions and concerns, but please note that township social media sites may serve as moderated online discussions and not public forums.

  1. This policy governs all social media use by or on behalf of the Township and/or its departments.
  2. The Township shall have a single presence on each social media site approved for use. Any pages or sites created and/or maintained by an individual department or instrumentality of the Township require prior approval of the Manager, and shall comply with this Social Media Policy.
  3. All Township presence and activity on social media are an integral part of the Township’s information networks and must comply with all rules and policies governing the Township’s computers and electronic media, including but not limited to the applicable Municipal Internet Access and Use Guidelines.
  4. All Township use of social media, including use by departments or instrumentalities of the Township, are responsible for complying with applicable federal, state, and county laws, regulations, and policies. This includes adherence to established laws and policies regarding copyright, records retention, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Open Public Record Act (OPRA), First Amendment, privacy laws, sunshine laws, and information security policies (if applicable) established by the Municipality, its departments, affiliated boards, commissions and authorities.
  5. Wherever possible, links to more information should direct users back to the Municipality’s official website.
  6. Employees representing Municipal government on social media outlets must identify themselves by name, and when relevant, by role at the Municipality. All Municipal policies are applicable to interactions on social media sites when acting in an official capacity and representing the Municipality.
  7. The designated municipal webmaster shall monitor content on all social media sites to ensure adherence to the Social Media Policy for appropriate use, message, and branding consistent with the goals of the Municipality.
  8. No “friending” or other special relationship between a Township employee and a third person is permitted.
  9. Social media sites are not to be used for making any official communications to the Township, for example, reporting crimes or misconduct, reporting dangerous conditions, giving notice required by any statute, ordinance or regulation (e.g. notice of claim). Prominent notice of this paragraph shall be displayed on every Township social media site, along with the appropriate contact information for submitting such a communication.
  10. The Municipal Webmaster shall have the authority to remove any Prohibited Content (see below) from any Township social media site at any time, subject to archiving and retention requirements. See section III, Prohibited Content.

III. Prohibited Content

1. The following content is prohibited and subject to removal

  1. Comments unrelated to the particular post being commented upon;
  2. 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;
  3. Comments containing vulgar, offensive, threatening, or harassing language, personal attacks, or unsupported accusations;
  4. Obscene or sexually suggestive or explicit content or links to obscene or sexual content;
  5. Illegal activity or encouragement of Illegal activity;
  6. Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;
  7. Comments from children under 13 cannot be posted in order to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection ACT. By posting on a Montclair media site, users acknowledge that they are at least 13 years old;
  8. Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party;
  9. Comments with website, email or Internet links of any kind.
  10. Content that incites violence.
  11. Photographs or videos.
  12. Personal information of a person other than the poster.
  13. Spamming or repetitive content.

2. Persons posting prohibited content are subject to being barred from posting comments on Township Social Media.

IV. Applicability

This policy shall apply to all Municipal agencies and departments as well as any affiliated government or non-government agency or official permitted by the Municipality to post on Municipal social media sites.