District of Peachland adopts new policies governing councillors social media use

New social media policies

Councillors and municipal employees will need to be careful with their personal social media accounts under new policies adopted Tuesday in Peachland.

Council approved new communications and social media policies, but councillors were cautioned their private posts will fall under public scrutiny.

“The line between personal and professional use of social media can blur. Interactions on social media, even in closed groups, should be treated as public interactions,” the new policy states.

“When the line between personal and professional use blurs, it’s good to treat all interactions as if they’re public,“ Communications Co-ordinator Kirsten Jones said in a presentation.

“Posting about the district on your personal social media accounts may imply you represent the district,“ she continued, “and this could impact public trust or the reputation of the district.”

Municipal logos, for example, aren’t to be used on private accounts.

“Employees are cautioned that referencing the District’s name, attaching a District email address or postings indicating your employment with the District on personal social media accounts could imply you are acting on the District’s behalf,“ the policy states.

Similar language was used to address councillors.

The policies encourage the municipality to provide information to the public promptly, accurately, respectfully and in plain language.

Social media use is encouraged, but “we’ll remove content we deem inappropriate immediately,” Jones said.

Councillors are supposed to specify when they are offering a personal opinion rather than speaking on behalf of council or the municipality.

Jones said Peachland has 1,263 followers on Facebook and 660 subscribers to its e-news. An Instagram account may be added, but the municipality has no plans to join X, formerly Twitter, she said.

Council approved both policies with only a brief discussion.

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