Recognizing the influence of social media in governance, an Administrative Order (AO) was drafted to guide government employees in achieving safe and productive use of the tool in communicating and engaging the public.
Aimed to be the guiding principle for all national government agencies (NGAs), government-owned and –controlled corporations (GOCCs), government instrumentalities with corporate powers (GICPs)/government corporate entities (GCEs), and government financial institutions (GFIs), the salient features of the 18-section draft AO are:
- Creation of social media accounts (i.e. selection criteria, naming convention, approval process)
- Social media team composition (social media officer and account administrator qualifications and roles)
- Social media (SocMed) team responsibilities (participation and moderation policies)
- Permission, Privacy and Confidentiality (in accordance to Section 12 of the Data Privacy Act of 2012)
- Content Management (posting guidelines, content classification, blacklisted content)
- Guidelines for Civil Servants in accordance to RA 6713 (Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees)
With the creation of the draft AO, civil servants will have stricter rules on prohibited social media activities such as making comments on behalf of government without approval, disclosure and misuse of confidential/proprietary information to further private interest or to prejudice public interest, and excessive use of social media that interferes with official work duties and performance.
Although, the draft AO does not intend to impede freedom of expression for civil servants, but rather lay the ground in standardizing, establishing, and defining acceptable norms and feedback mechanisms for government employees as well as the government-handled social media accounts.
“If you are a government employee, you are governed by a certain set of rules and ethical standards, and therefore you have to conduct yourself as a public official,” said DICT Assistant Secretary for Legal Affairs and Consumer Protection Carlos Caliwara.
The Technical Working Group (TWG), composed of the Civil Service Commission, Career Service Executive Board, Presidential Communications Operations Office, Department of Social Welfare and Development, and the Policies and Standards Division of NIGS-DICT, will further improve the said draft AO after a public consultation with various NGAs and LGUs was held last October 10.
In the said consultation, the TWG also asked other NGAs for a copy of their existing internal policies and advocacies on social media for them to potentially adopt in the next version.
To help us improve and refine the policy document, the DICT invites National Government Agencies and Local Government Units to submit additional inputs, position papers, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, on or before October 22.
Download a copy of the Draft AO on Social Media Use.