Social Media Policy
Shall – This term is used to state a Mandatory requirement of this policy
Should –This term is used to state a Recommended requirement of this policy
May – This term is used to state an Optional requirement
Social media is considered to be IT based technologies (desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone) that allow the creating and sharing of information, ideas, career interests and other forms of expression via virtual communities and networks.
Social media includes, but is not limited to:
Facebook WhatsApp Messenger Tumblr Instagram Pinterest LinkedIn Snapchat Twitter YouTube Only social media sites that have been authorised and enabled by IT Service operations for users shall be accessed via IT systems, including via the organisations issued smartphones.
(If the IT is outsourced to a third-party provider this statement should reflect that only social media and the accessed sites that have been authorised by the parent organisation and then ‘enabled’ by the IT provider can be accessed by staff.)
When accessing social media, including personal accounts, for personal use on IT systems the following principles shall be followed by users:
Excessive personal use of the social media during working hours shall be forbidden and contraventions to this may lead to disciplinary action.
Social media shall only be used for personal activities; it is not for use for the transmission, storage or discussion of any UK Government information.
Social media shall be used in a manner that does not bring the Practice into disrepute or harm or tarnish its image or reputation through offensive, inappropriate or derogatory remarks.
Where a role is authorised to use social media for their responsibilities (e.g. use of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) this shall be in accordance with the role requirements and as outlined in the job description.
Users using social media (for personal and corporate use) shall be forbidden from: Breaching data protections laws or patient confidentiality.
Publishing images or text that might be considered as harassment or are discriminatory, offensive or abusive. This includes the promotion of discrimination based on factors such as race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age.
Publishing images or text that might be considered threatening, abusive, hateful or inflammatory, which constitutes an invasion of privacy, or causes annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety or which promotes violence.
Doing anything that may be considered discriminatory against, libellous or bullying and/or harassment of, any individual.
Infringing any copyright, database right or trademark of any other person or organisation including posting copyrighted information in a way that violates the copyright of that information.
Publishing images or text that advocate, promote or assist in any unlawful act or any illegal activity. Introducing or promoting the use of any form of computer virus or malware.
Deliberately impersonating any person or misrepresenting your identity or affiliation with any person. Breaching the terms of service of the social network.
Promoting messages for party political purposes or for campaigning organisations. Promoting personal financial interests or commercial ventures to secure personal advantage.
Providing links to websites of a violent, obscene or offensive nature or which contain any content that can be construed as violating any of the above guidelines.
Making any discriminatory, disparaging, defamatory or harassing comments or otherwise engaging in any conduct prohibited by the Practice’s policies.
Making slanderous, defamatory, false, obscene, indecent, lewd, pornographic, violent, abusive, insulting, threatening or harassing images or comments.
(The above list of forbidden behaviour etc. should reflect the organisation’s Acceptable Use Policy and the organisation should have clear guidelines on what are obscene, indecent, bullying etc. These may be available from the organisation’s HR department and the organisation’s policies on workplace behaviour.)
The practice employees are free to publish or comment via social media in accordance with this policy. The practice employees are subject to this policy to the extent they identify themselves as a practice employee (other than as an incidental mention of place of employment in a personal blog on topics unrelated to the practice, the employing dentist or any other dental professional working at the practice).
Publication and commentary on social media carry similar obligations to any other kind of publication or commentary.
All uses of social media must follow the same ethical standards that Practice employees must otherwise follow.
Setting up social media identities
Social media identities, logon ID’s and usernames may not use the name of the practice without prior approval from Holly Tandy
Don’t tell secrets
It is acceptable to talk about your work and have a dialog with the community, but it is not acceptable to publish confidential information. Confidential information includes, for example, patient information, trade secrets, and financial information about the practice and unpublished details about the practice software.
Protect your own privacy
Privacy settings on social media platforms should be set at a level to allow anyone to see basic, profile information only – similar to the information available on the practice’s website (where relevant). Other privacy settings that might allow others to post information or see information that is personal should be set to limited access. Be mindful of posting information that you would not want the public to see.
Nothing gains you notice in social media more than honesty – or dishonesty. Do not say anything that is dishonest, untrue or misleading. If you have a vested interest in something you are discussing, point it out. But, also be smart about protecting yourself and your privacy. What you publish will be around for a long time, so consider the content carefully and also be cautious about disclosing personal details.
Respect copyright laws
You must respect the laws governing copyright and fair use or fair dealing of copyrighted material owned by others, including the copyright of the practice. Do not use text, images, music or videos unless you have permission from the copyright holder to do so. You should never quote more than short excerpts of someone else’s work, and always attribute such work to the original author/source. Creating a link to the work of others rather than reproducing it is good practice and will avoid copyright issues.
Respect your audience, the Practice, and your co-workers
The public in general, and employees and patients of the practice, reflect a diverse set of customs, values and points of view. Avoid publishing anything contradictory or in conflict with the practice website or with others at the practice; be mindful of the unprofessional impression this might create. Feel free to be yourself, but do so respectfully:
do not publish ethnic slurs, offensive comments, defamatory comments, personal insults and obscenities, for example
respect the privacy of others
take care with topics that are considered objectionable or inflammatory – such as politics and religion.
Use your best judgment and be sure to make it clear that the views and opinions expressed are yours alone and do not represent the views of the practice.
Protect patients of the practice, business partners and suppliers
Patients, partners or suppliers should not be cited or obviously referenced without their consent and approval. Never identify a patient, partner or supplier by name without permission and never discuss confidential details of a customer engagement. Your blog is not the place to ‘conduct businesses with a patient.
If you witness misrepresentations about the practice in the media, you may respond with the facts and with respect. Where possible, responses should be confirmed with Holly Tandy first. If you publish opinions about others, make sure that what you say is factual and that it does not disparage the individual.
Avoid arguments; brawls may earn traffic, but nobody wins in the end. Don’t try to settle scores or goad competitors or others into inflammatory debates. Always make sure that what you are saying is factually correct.
Be the first to respond to your own mistakes
If you make an error, be honest about it and correct it quickly. If you choose to modify an earlier post, make it clear that you have done so. If someone accuses you of posting something improper (such as their copyrighted material or a defamatory comment about them), deal with it quickly; it is often better to remove it immediately to lessen the possibility of a legal action. Never try to cover up a mistake or deny that you have made one; even if you delete something, some users will still be able to view it and contradict your version of events.
Consider the consequences
Consider, for example, what might happen if a practice employee is in a meeting with a patient or prospective patient and they present you with a print-out of your blog and ask you to explain your comments and, possibly, why they are contrary to what they are hearing now.
Again, you must use your judgment and avoid using blogs to criticise or embarrass the practice, patients, or your co-workers; it can be dangerous and is not advised – ever.
Many social media users include a prominent disclaimer identifying who they work for and asserting that they’re not speaking officially. This is good practice and is encouraged, but don’t rely on it to avoid trouble; it may not carry any legal protection.
Wherever possible, you must use a disclaimer saying that while you work for the practice, anything you publish is your personal opinion, and not the views or opinions of the practice.
Don’t forget your day job
Make sure that blogging does not interfere with your job or commitments to patients.
Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
Approved By: Holly Tandy Date Published: 07/12/2020