Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy

This policy sets forth guidelines for the establishment and use by the City of Waterloo of social media sites as a means of conveying City of Waterloo information to the public. The intended purpose behind the use of City of Waterloo social media sites is to disseminate information from the City, about the City, the public in a civil and unbiased manner.

The City of Waterloo has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of the City on City social media sites. For the purposes of this policy, social media means any facility for online publication and commentary, including without limitation blogs, wikis, content hosting sites such as Flickr and YouTube, and social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and other emerging channels. This policy is in addition to and complements any existing or future City of Waterloo policies regarding the use of technology, computers, smart phones, e-mail and the internet.

General Policy

  1. The establishment and use by any City department of City social media sites are subject to approval by the Mayor’s Office or his/her designees. All City of Waterloo social media sites shall be administered by the Department Director or his/her designees.
  2. City social media sites shall make clear that they are maintained by the City of Waterloo. City logo or branding shall be used on all social media accounts to confirm authenticity of the site. City social media accounts will only join a group or become a fan of a page if it is related to official City business, services, and events.
  3. Wherever possible, City social media sites should link back to the official City of Waterloo website for forms, documents, online services, and other information necessary to conduct business with the City of Waterloo.
  4. The Department Director or his/her designees will monitor content on City social media sites to ensure adherence the interest and goals of the City of Waterloo.
  5. Users of all City social media shall adhere to applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and policies.
  6. The City reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of the City of Waterloo Social Media Poicy or any applicable law. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained by the Department Director or his/her designee for a reasonable period of time, including the time, date and identity of the poster, when available.
  7. The City of Waterloo’s website at will remain the City’s primary and predominant Internet presence.
  8. Freedom of Information Act and e-discovery laws and policies apply to social media content and therefore content must be able to be managed, stored and retrieved to comply with these laws.
  9. City of Waterloo social media sites are subject to State of Iowa public record laws. Any content marinated in a social media format that is related to City business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication, is a public record. The Department maintaining the site is responsible for responding completely and accurately to any public records request for public records on social media. Content related to City business shall be maintained in an accessible format pursuant to City policy and practice so that it can be produced in response to a request. Whenever possible, suck cites shall clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or submitted posting are subject to public disclosure.
  10. Employees representing the City of Waterloo via social media accounts must conduct themselves at all times as representative of the City of Waterloo. Employees that fail to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner shall be subject to the Disciplinary Action Procedures outlined in the Personnel Policy Manual.

Comment Policy

  1. A comment posted by a member of the public on any City of Waterloo social media site is the opinion of the commentator or poster only, and publication of a comment does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, the City of Waterloo nor do such comments necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the City of Waterloo.
  2. Comments containing any of the following inappropriate forms of content shall not be permitted on City of Waterloo social media sites and are subjected to removal and/ore restriction by the Department Director or his/her designees:
    1. Comments not related to the original topic;
    2. Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status or mental or physical disability;
    3. Defamatory or personal attacks;
    4. Threats to any person or organization;
    5. Comments in support of, or in opposition to, any political campaigns or ballot measures;
    6. Solicitation of commerce, including but not limited to advertising of any business or product for sale
    7. Conduct in violation of any federal, state or local law;
    8. Encouragement of illegal activity;
  1. Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems; or
  2. Content that violates a legal ownership interest, such as a copyright, of any party.
  1. The City of Waterloo reserve the right to deny access to City of Waterloo social media sites for any individuals or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this social media policy or any applicable law.
  2. The Following verbiage can be used to warn individuals about their content. “Your recent posts is in violation of the Social Media Policy. Please refrain from posting appropriate content in the future. If you do not refrain from posting such content, we will block you from this forum. Thank you for understanding.”
  3. Departments shall monitor their social media sites for comments requesting responses from the City and for usage in violation of this policy.
  4. Department Directors or their designees, shall determine how employees must identify themselves when participating in the social media forum.