Media, including social media

State servants are free to talk to the media and use social media in their private lives, in the same way as other citizens. The Standards of Integrity and Conduct, political neutrality obligations and your agency policies apply to all media communications outside work as with other forms of communication. There must be a clear separation between State servants’ work role and their personal use of media.

While some aspects of social or other media may be outside a user's control, State servants are expected to take reasonable care that their media communications do not undermine the political neutrality of the State services. Maintaining political neutrality in a work role means separating personal political comments in any media, including on social media, from work life. For example, State servants must not link their personal political comments to their LinkedIn work profile.

As with other types of behaviour, private activity in the media, including social media use, will only be a concern to an employer if it harms the employment relationship in some way. Trust and confidence will be affected by media use that involves unlawful conduct, a breach of the code of conduct or that otherwise brings the employer into disrepute.

Using social media

Private comments can become public on social media, so it always pays to think before posting material online and to exercise good judgement when sending a post.

It is never a good idea to air workplace grievances online or be disrespectful of others when using social media. If someone is unsure about what is acceptable they may want to talk to their manager or an HR advisor at their workplace.

Social media posts are covered by the Electoral Act 1993 rules on political advertising. Political comments made by individuals who express their views on their own website or through social media are exempt from the rules, as long as they do not make or receive payment in relation to the publication of those views.

However, as all political advertising is prohibited on election day; even individuals covered by this exemption cannot post new political messages on election day.

For State servants who operate their own websites, managing social media risks may involve, for example, moderating content on a site, or not responding to posts.

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