City of Minneapolis will update its 8-year-old Social Media Policy

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MINNEAPOLIS — Does your boss have a say in what you post on social media? The city of Minneapolis soon will by updating its policy for employees, elected officials and volunteers. 

One could say it started with a question a reporter asked two years ago. In a White House Briefing led by then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, a reporter asked, “are President Trump’s tweets considered official White House statements?”

That question coupled with this answer from Spicer had a big part in shaping what social media policies and communications look like today. 

“Well, the President is the President of the United States, they’re considered official statements by the president of the United States,” Spicer said in 2017. 

The City of Minneapolis decided unanimously on Thursday that it too needs to update its antiquated social media policies.

“There’s been a lot of evolution on the government use of social media at the federal level, state level and now local levels of really trying to provide additional clarity,” City of Minneapolis Communications Director Greta Bergstrom said. 

Starting in 2020, the 4,100 city employees, elected officials and even more volunteers will need to have official city-affiliated social media accounts.

“We just want to have a clear separation of personal and private because again, the government data, we have a responsibility to archive and make public,” Bergstrom said. 

This means those working for the city can still have personal accounts as long as they aren’t used for any city business. The city however, will not have jurisdiction of what gets posted on those personal accounts.

“We actually at this stage and given the status in the courts, would have no say over a personal account,” Bergstrom said. “Undoubtedly, something [wrong] will be brought to light with the media or within the ward.”

That being said, she explained the policy will be policed and judged on a case-by-case basis.

“We would work with the HR department, with the city attorney’s office and whatever department might be involved to try to figure out if that situation is one that warrants more work or attention or discipline,” Bergstrom said.

The city affiliated accounts will not be able to block users as the communication is considered public information.

Bergstrom said a more detailed, written-out draft will be available to city employees starting around next week.

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