MANILA — The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is encouraging government agencies to utilize social media to create awareness on its various programs and policies and ensure the participation of citizens.
This as the department has crafted its guidelines on the use of social media for the agencies under the Executive branch of the government.
The proposed Administrative Order on Social Media Use for Government seeks to provide framework for government agencies to manage their social media accounts; establish rules for responsible and safe use of social media by government employees taking into account their right to privacy and freedom of expression and encourage the use of social media to promote good governance, transparency and accountability, citizen participation and improvement of public service delivery.
“We are encouraging the use of social media for our advocacy, programs and policies. We need to strike a balance on how to use social media to improve productivity and governance and at the same time taking care of public trust and upholding public interest,” National ICT Governance Service Dir. Maria Teresa Magno-Garcia said during the public consultation with information and communications technology (ICT) organizations and other members of the private sector held in Quezon City Monday.
For her part, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Usec. Lorraine Marie Badoy said: “Government must find ways to enable the public to give feedback and suggestions on their programs.”
The order mandates government agencies to only use their official e-mail addresses in the creation of their social media accounts.
Individuals or units that would like to create or maintain a social media account that would represent the agency or any of its programs for a specific audience, activity or purpose should seek approval from the social media officer or the head of the agency through the social media officer.
The proponent must define the following: social media account name; platform; account administrator; target audience; duration of activity/account; and content management plan which involves content creation and publishing approval process, participation and moderation policy and records management.
Posting or uploading of content shall be done only by an authorized personnel including the social media team, legal affairs or head of the agency.
Allowable content includes official statements and press releases including official photos and videos; publication of advisories, memorandum circulars, and orders for public consumption and original materials produced by the agency related to its functions and mandates.
Blackmail/insulting content, pornographic content, malicious content, suspicious links and viruses and opinions by employees or individuals which do not represent the department’s view are some of the content considered blacklisted and shall not be posted.
Furthermore, private information or information privately shared by a private social media user to his/her account or to the agency through private channels such as private messages shall be presumed private and shall not be shared or publicly used by the agency without the consent of the user.
The social media team of government agencies shall create the participation policy providing the rules governing the behavior expected of users of the online discussion or community and the moderation policy specifying the form of moderation being applied, the person or team responsible for moderation and their content information.
Security protocols shall be installed to mitigate the risks of cyberattacks and other threats on the agency’s social media account.
The accounts shall be accessed through a secure computer, web browser, and Virtual Private Network (VPN) or any other secure network.
Civil servants are likewise encouraged to participate in social media in order to improve efficiency and productivity.
They shall not be prohibited from using social media in their personal capacity as it is an effective way for them to learn how to use social media in their offical capacity.
However, they are reminded to responsibly use the social media.
Each agency shall create a social media team who shall ensure that the order is implemented; that the use of social media aligns with its objectives and that the social media approach suits the program and the type of audience which it needs to capture and complements the other forms of media used by the agency.
The social media team shall be composed of the following:
A Social Media Officer who shall act as advocate and provide overall supervision and control on matters involving the implementation of the social media policy. He/she shall be designated by the Head of the Agency.
The Social Media Officer must be at least a second level executive-managerial officer of the agency, and must have at least one year of relevant experience in the field of ICT or communications, with management competencies such as providing overall direction in the social media strategy of the organization, community building and crisis management, marketing, and having an understanding of the social media technology and landscape.
He/she shall be responsible for the overall design, content and campaign planning for social media.
An Account Administrator who shall create and maintain social media account/s that would represent the agency or any of its units or programs for a specific audience, program, or purpose.
They shall have at least one year of relevant experience in ICT.
The commission of prohibited acts and the failure to comply with the provisions of this Order shall constitute misconduct and shall subject the offending civil servant to appropriate administrative sanctions under the 2017 Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service (RACCS) and penalties under Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees in addition to any criminal and/or civil liability that may attach.
Moreover, the 2017 RACCS also applies in the institution, investigation, prosecution and adjudication of cases involving the use of social media.
For personnel under Contract of Service or Job Orders, commission of prohibited acts shall be a valid ground for termination or cancellation of contract depending on the gravity of the offense committed.
The order shall apply to all national government agencies, government owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs) and government financial institutions (GFIs).
Constitutional Commissions, the Congress, Judiciary, local government units (LGUs) and other branches of government including state universities and colleges are encouraged to adopt the order.