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US. Dos and Don'ts for Feds on Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC] Protect yourself from Hatch Act violations — know the rules!
Source: ohmygov.com
Source Date: Friday, September 03, 2010
Focus: Institution and HR Management
Country: United States
Created: Sep 09, 2010

Social media has become such an integral part of our day to day lives that we sometimes find the lines blurred for what constitutes acceptable behavior online. Even as government agencies eagerly embrace social media and the instant interaction it affords, government managers face important training and policy issues concerning information disclosure and appropriate speech online. Of particular concern in the federal workplace is how the Hatch Act, which governs political speech by federal employees, plays into social media activity.

Recently, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel released 9 pages worth of frequently asked questions to help clear up the murky waters of the Hatch Act. The guidance clears up some major questions, but doesn't resolve everything in this ever-evolving space. With the infographic below and plain language FAQs, OhMyGov opens up the Hatch, so to speak, to offer the clearest guidance yet on what feds can and can't do on social media. 

The OSC document refers primarily to Facebook and Twitter, but notes that the guidance applies to other social sites as well. The FAQ also takes care to differentiate between "Less Restricted Employees" (or LRE --- most federal executive branch employees, and D.C. government employees) and "Further Restricted Employees" (or FRE --- typically those involved in intelligence and enforcement type agencies). See the full list of FRE agencies and conditions here or check with your supervisor to determine whether you are an LRE or FRE.

Steer clear of any political storms by understanding your responsibilities as a fed under the Hatch Act!   

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