GSA Social Media Policy
GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
Washington, DC 20405
April 24, 2018
SUBJECT: GSA Social Media Policy
1. Purpose. This Order provides requirements for the use of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) social media accounts for official purposes.
2. Background. Various Federal laws and regulations govern the use of social media by Federal employees in both official and personal capacities.
3. Scope and applicability. This Order applies to all GSA employees with authority to use a GSA social media account, and it includes reminders for employees when using social media in a personal capacity.
- This Order also applies to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to the extent that the OIG determines it is consistent with the OIG’s independent authority under the Inspector General Act of 1978 (5 U.S.C. App. 3) and does not conflict with other OIG policies or the OIG mission.
- This Order applies to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) only to the extent that it is consistent with the CBCA's requisite independence as defined by the Contract Disputes Act (CDA) and its legislative history. 41 U.S.C. §§ 7101-7109 (2012) and S. Rep. No. 95-1118 (1978).
- The scope of this Order includes social media technologies hosted on internal Federal Government servers such as Chatter as well as those hosted outside of Federal Government servers such as Facebook and Twitter.
4. Cancellation. This Order cancels CIO 2106.1 GSA Social Media Policy.
5. Policy. GSA encourages an official, strategic presence on social media for GSA’s agency operations and programs in support of its mission of delivering the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the Federal Government and the American people. Requests for the creation of a GSA official social media account must be submitted to the GSA Office of Strategic Communication (OSC) in accordance with the directions provided in the Social Media Navigator. GSA official social media accounts must abide by the requirements contained in this Order and the Social Media Navigator.
6. OSC responsibilities. OSC is responsible for the social media policies that govern the creation, management, use of and removal of GSA official social media accounts. OSC will:
- Establish, review, freeze (discontinue use temporarily), or terminate GSA official social media accounts. Any existing GSA social media accounts will be reviewed by OSC to determine if they are in compliance with this Order.
- Create and manage content from across GSA’s entire digital presence to share on GSA’s official social media accounts;
- Administer the GSA branding policy;
- Conduct periodic assessments of content on GSA social media sites for compliance with GSA policy, standards, and guidelines; and
- Provide policy guidance for GSA’s official social media accounts.
7. Social media user in an official capacity.
- An employee is communicating in his/her official capacity when his/her supervisor assigns this activity as part of the employee’s official duties. When an employee communicates in an official capacity, he/she is communicating on behalf of GSA and can only do what is authorized by GSA, as outlined in this Order and the Social Media Navigator. Any content an employee publishes on social media in an official capacity is done on behalf of GSA.
- A GSA employee authorized to use GSA social media accounts:
(1) Manages a GSA official social media account; creates, shares, or discusses content regarding GSA and GSA-related matters in a manner consistent with the instructions provided in the Social Media Navigator and any additional instructions from his or her supervisor or the Associate Administrator for OSC;
(2) Coordinates as needed with OSC and the Office of General Counsel (OGC) when creating, sharing, or discussing content regarding GSA or GSA-related matters.
(3) Refrains from communicating with members of the press about GSA in his/her official capacity without express permission from OSC;
(4) Uses official agency branding on GSA official social media accounts;
(5) Avoids endorsing or appearing to endorse any commercial products, services, entities, political parties, candidates or groups, private interests, or non-Federal groups;
(6) Keeps up to date with policies, including any changes to the Social Media Navigator. Navigator;
(7) Writes content in plain language, meets information quality standards, and ensures that people with limited English proficiency or disabilities have equal access to the web-based content provided using non-Federal social media services;
(8) Verifies content to ensure the information is accurate, timely, relevant, and complete;
(9) Provides data in an open, machine readable, industry standard format;
(10) Respects and protects intellectual property, to include copyrights and trademarks through the use of clear disclaimers and guidance.
(11) Protects nonpublic information, such as financial disclosure information, protected acquisition and personally identifiable information (including work product and conversations that are meant to be pre-decisional or internal to GSA), by ensuring it is not disclosed through social media activities; complies with the laws related to the prohibition on the dissemination of nonpublic information.
(12) Practices proper records management and archives social media records in compliance with Federal records management laws, regulations, and policies;
(13) Adheres to the laws for Federal Government information collection and Federal advisory committees;
(14) Refrains from engaging in vulgar or abusive language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms targeting individuals or groups; and
(15) Refrains from posting any visual and audiovisual media that is vulgar or abusive, or offensive.
8. Social media user in a personal capacity.
- An employee is communicating in his/her personal capacity when he/she is acting on his/her own time and representing himself/herself and not the agency or the U.S. Government. When using social media tools personally, it should not appear to others as though an employee is speaking for GSA.
- GSA employees in their personal capacity shall:
(1) Follow the statutes and regulations that govern the behavior of Federal employees, including but not limited to the Hatch Act and the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, which may extend to an employee’s personal/private use of social media.
(2) Follow the laws related to the prohibition on the dissemination of nonpublic information;
(3) Not use their GSA position/title unless several biographical details are included (if permissible on the social media vehicle used) and the employee’s title/ position is given no more prominence than the other significant biographical details.
(4) Not use official agency branding on personal social media accounts; and
(5) Not create or modify the social media account in such a way that could be construed as implying government sanction or endorsement.
- GSA employees are encouraged to use a disclaimer clarifying that their social media communications reflect only their personal views and do not necessarily represent the views of GSA or the United States. A clear and conspicuous disclaimer will usually be sufficient to dispel any confusion that arises; however, in some cases, a disclaimer may not necessarily eliminate the potential that a reasonable person could construe that the employee’s social media account is sanctioned or endorsed by GSA.
- Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch
10. Labor management relations responsibilities. Implementation of this Order with respect to employees represented by a labor organization is contingent upon completion of appropriate labor relations obligations.
Acting Associate Administrator
Office of Strategic Communication