Social media has become such
an integral part of our day to day lives that we sometimes find the
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
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!