Gamasutra: The Art & Business of Making Gamesspacer
Drafting a Social Media Handbook Policy for Developers
View All     RSS
October 2, 2014
arrowPress Releases
October 2, 2014
PR Newswire
View All





If you enjoy reading this site, you might also want to check out these UBM Tech sites:


 
Drafting a Social Media Handbook Policy for Developers

February 19, 2013 Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3
 

Do not restrict employees from using the company's name, address, or other information on their online profiles (e.g., Facebook) because such profiles serve as a way for employees to find one another online and possibly communicate about unionization activities.

Do not restrict employees from posting pictures of your company's logo, uniforms, etc. because this also restricts employees from posting about their union activity (e.g., posting pictures of coworkers at a union rally wearing pro-union T-shirts that depict the company's logo).

Do not restrict employees' communication with the public and press via social media because federal labor law protects these kinds of communications.

Do not require employees to explicitly state that whatever they post is their personal opinion every time that they post anything about the company (e.g., "Company XYZ doesn't provide us proper benefits. This is my personal opinion, not that of the company").

Do not require an employee to get approval before they can identify themselves as an employee online.

But you may require employees to get the company's permission before they post something on behalf of the company or post something that people could think came from the company directly.

Do not restrict employees from becoming Facebook friends with one another or communicating with one another via social media.

But you may have a policy that prevents employees from pressuring their coworkers into connecting or communicating with them via social media. Just be sure that the policy clearly applies only to harassing conduct and does not restrict employees from contacting one another for the purpose of engaging in unionization activities.

Do not require employees to discuss work-related concerns with their supervisors or managers before they air their frustrations online.

But you may suggest that employees should first try to resolve their work-related concerns using internal company procedures.

Do not rely on a disclaimer to fix an overly broad social media policy that lacks appropriate definitions and context. For example, one company had a disclaimer in their policy stating, "This policy will not be interpreted or applied so as to interfere with employee rights to self-organize, form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their choosing, or to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection." The NLRB says that this may still conflict with federal labor law because employees may not understand what this statement means and will nonetheless think that they are not allowed to engage in unionization activities. In other words, err on the side of being more specific.

That is a lot to take in, so how do you begin? The NLRB has graciously included a full sample of a social media policy in its third report ("It's dangerous to go alone! Take this!"), which is available for free on its website. Search for the Operations Memorandum 12-59 published on May 30, 2012; the sample is on pages 22-24. Use this sample as a starting point and remember to also keep in mind the FTC's guidelines that I mentioned earlier. Happy drafting!

The views expressed in this article are that of the author personally, and should not be attributed to the National Labor Relations Board or the U.S. government. Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship exists between the author and any reader.


Article Start Previous Page 3 of 3

Related Jobs

Vicarious Visions / Activision
Vicarious Visions / Activision — Albany, New York, United States
[10.02.14]

Character Artist-Vicarious Visions
Sucker Punch Productions
Sucker Punch Productions — Bellevue, Washington, United States
[10.01.14]

Concept Artist
Red 5 Studios
Red 5 Studios — Laguna Hills, California, United States
[10.01.14]

Web Developer/Web Architect
Halo
Halo — Kirkland, Washington, United States
[10.01.14]

Senior AI Engineer






Comments


Joshua Darlington
profile image
I'm amazed that all workflow isnt passed through some form of social media as a progression from 90s email tech. Seems like an obvious move.

Top down concerns about informal use of social media seems to come from a 20th century idea of communication technology.

Eric Long
profile image
This is helpful to both employers and employees. A lot of great information here that many people may not have been aware of.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
After reading all this, I am now convinced that we need MORE government to protect us from people using Twitter, Facebook etc. Just imagine what damage can be caused by someone talking about how awesome the game they are working on is without proper disclosure. It could be catastrophic. Please protect me oh benevolent government.

PS: Yes, I know that a good chunk of this article is in reference of protecting employees from overly broad or overreaching social media policies, but there is some really dumb stuff in there too.

Joshua Darlington
profile image
Not sure I follow your logic. But it was nice of big gov to fund the ARPANET.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
Not sure what who invented ARPANET has to do with pointless government regulation like mandatory Twitter disclosures, but ok.

Joshua Darlington
profile image
Your initial statement included a broad sentiment about not needing "MORE government." Pointing to useful infrastructure was addressed to the big gov vs small gov part of your comment.

Gov opin about stuff like Twitter disclosures are nothing new. I believe that the US gov has held a position since the days of the locomotive (or maybe the telegraph) that privacy rights stop when you hand your communication to a third party.

Perhaps you have faith in quantum encryption but I expect that information dynamics will continue to cascade toward a more transparent equilibrium.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
How is this sentence:

"After reading all this, I am now convinced that we need MORE government to protect us from people using Twitter, Facebook etc."

A broad statement about all government services/inventions? Seems pretty specific/narrow to me.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
I really need to respond to something else in your comment.

"I believe that the US gov has held a position since the days of the locomotive (or maybe the telegraph) that privacy rights stop when you hand your communication to a third party. "

While that may be the government's opinion, it is in complete contrast to the protections granted by the 4th Amendment.

Do you honestly believe that your right to privacy is nullified when you hand your letter to the post office? If your statement was true, the US government would be perfectly in its right to read your mail, email, IMs, and listen in on your Skype and phone calls. Do you really believe that? Or are you just confusing the topic I was referencing too?

Joshua Darlington
profile image
My initial comment was "Not sure I follow your logic" - how did you jump from company Twitter policy to gov regulation? I may have missed something.

The EMPHASIS in your statement seemed to give it a specific emphasis.

I am not a constitutional scholar. I'm not a big fan of constitutionalism.

My comment regarding gov policy was historical. My point being that gov policy has been consistent for like 150 years. So some new blip about Twitter isn't that interesting to me. I'm very cynical but pragmatic about gov issues. If you have some Utopian visions that you would like to share, I will sympathize but I might question logistical considerations.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
"how did you jump from company Twitter policy to gov regulation?"

The entire first page of this article is about government regulations and how they apply to company social media policies. That is how.

"The EMPHASIS in your statement seemed to give it a specific emphasis."

Yes, a specific emphasis on government regulation of social media usage by employees.

"I am not a constitutional scholar. I'm not a big fan of constitutionalism."

As made apparent by your statement regarding government policy on privacy.

"My point being that gov policy has been consistent for like 150 years. So some new blip about Twitter isn't that interesting to me."

Personally, I find it very interesting and of importance to me to understand how the government is attempting to control my usage of social media, especially when its control could be a violation of my 1st and 4th amendment rights.

Joshua Darlington
profile image
The first page? Maybe I didn't understand the first page. It seemed like the gov regulation they describe is in place to keep employers from restricting their employees free speech. Or at least limit that effort. Is that a misunderstanding? Or is that your concern? Is it your position that companies should be able to restrict any and all speech at the workplace?

"As made apparent by your statement regarding government policy on privacy."

Are a constitutional scholar? Some people devote their lives to such things are recognized by formal institutions for their work in this area. They're the people that typically argue out these issues in our judicial system. We can have a layperson conversation but perhaps it would only reveal both of our ignorances of the actual issues in play.

IMO Constitutionalism as a form of absolutism has been tainted by its over use on dubious issues such as defending slavery. The right you may be trying to protect - the right of employers to restrict the free speech of their employees seems like a questionable use of an appeal to our constitution. But perhaps I misread or misunderstood your concern. If so, sorry.

E Zachary Knight
profile image
Here are a couple things I believe based on this article:

1) The FTC's Endorsement Guidelines are pointless in many cases in which they are applied. This is especially true when it requires that employees add a disclosure when talking about the company they work for or its services and products.

2) There are a lot of great suggestions and rules described in this article regarding social media usage by employees, but do they all need to be government regulated?

Jonathan Adams
profile image
If the government doesn't regulate it then the company can have you sign it away.


none
 
Comment: