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San Mateo County, CA  FAST FACTS:  Founded: 1856  Size: 455 sq miles  Coastline: 57 miles  Population: 718,451  Cities: 20  County Employees: more.

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Presentation on theme: "San Mateo County, CA  FAST FACTS:  Founded: 1856  Size: 455 sq miles  Coastline: 57 miles  Population: 718,451  Cities: 20  County Employees: more."— Presentation transcript:

1 San Mateo County, CA  FAST FACTS:  Founded: 1856  Size: 455 sq miles  Coastline: 57 miles  Population: 718,451  Cities: 20  County Employees: more than 5,300

2 Our Social Media Policy  A committee developed our social medial policy over about six months  Reps from County Counsel, HR, and County Manager (the County Executive)  Reps from departments wanting to use social media

3 Our Social Media Policy  Created a set of resources available on the County intranet  A one-page policy with key issues  A 39-page toolkit with detailed policies and procedures  A “work plan” template departments fill in to start the process  Four “terms and conditions” templates  Reviewed by County Counsel  Address key legal issues. Which are…

4 Six Key Legal Issues 1. Freedom of Speech 2. Public Meeting Laws 3. Public Records Laws & Document Retention 4. Confidentiality (HIPAA, Privacy, Consent) 5. Labor / Employment Issues 6. Copyright / Intellectual Property

5 Key Challenge  The law is not fully developed here, meaning some guess work involved  Social media, and related issues, evolve quickly  Becomes a balance: RISK vs. INNOVATION

6 1 - Freedom of Speech  Government cannot create a public forum and then selectively decide based on content what speech to allow  You do have some ability to restrict content in advance  Content restrictions must be clear, objective, set in advance, and enforced uniformly

7 1 - Freedom of Speech  Four types of forums created by social media use – The department picks which to use: Information Sharing Only Non-public Forum (Restricted Access) Limited Public Forum (Restricted Topic(s)) Designated Public Forum Speech Continuum

8 1 - Freedom of Speech  Make sure your policy is clear and is available on the site  Make sure you enforce it uniformly across individuals and across time  If you opt to open a forum, know the consequences:  You cannot remove speech you don’t like if it is on-topic (e.g., unpleasant criticism of a program or Board member)

9 2 - Public Meeting Laws  Public meeting laws (in CA) prohibit members of a public Board (County Board of Supervisors, school board, etc.) from discussing issues outside public meetings  Meetings can occur “serially”, meaning communications on issues over time (e.g., by or even facebook posts)  You may need to caution Board members not to participate in your use of social media

10 3 - Public Records Laws  In CA, Public Records Act makes nearly all “documents”—including electronic documents—public record open to inspection  Social media can be hard to archive  There are tools you can use to archive items:  For example, on facebook, apps that send you an with each comment – easy to save

11 4 - Confidentiality (HIPAA, Privacy, Consent)  Social media turns everyone into a publisher of content  Makes it very easy to violate confidentiality/privacy protections  Examples of problems:  Protected Health Information (PHI)  Employment issues  Photos (patients, kids at the library)  Have a policy and consent forms

12 5 – Labor / Employment  Examples of issues/problems:  Employees commenting on work conditions  Employees commenting on discipline  Anonymous comments by employees  Personal use by employees during work  Should make sure your policy works within the confines of your HR policies  Don’t be overly restrictive in some areas – for example, employees have a right to talk about workplace conditions

13 6 – Copyright / IP Issues  Becoming a publisher makes it easy to infringe on intellectual property rights  Examples of problems:  Songs used in the background  Quoting too much of copy-written articles  Using logos, symbols, photos, etc.  Best to educate to prevent problems

14 Take-Away Messages  Be aware of these issues before you implement a policy  Let departments know what steps to take (e.g., review general principles, draft workplan, and then finalize policy)  Contact your counsel with any and all questions that come up, both during and after setting up social media use  Follow the policies you adopt – be uniform  Lots is unclear and changing, so be flexible and stay tuned…


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