Social Media Policy

Kern County Public Health Services Department Social Media Policy

Policy Statement Overview:

Social media may be used by Kern County Public Health Services Department (KCPHSD) employees for health promotion and prevention purposes subject to the restrictions set forth in this policy. These restrictions are intended to ensure compliance with legal restrictions and privacy and confidentiality agreements, including HIPPA. Social media includes items such as social networks, blogs, and video streaming.

Purpose: To provide guidelines to employees and volunteers who are engaged in online social networking in efforts to prevent potential liability, and promote and protect the Kern County Public Health Services Department reputation. In addition, employees and volunteers are prohibited from posting any disparaging remarks against KCDPH, our partners, volunteers, clients or employees.

Employees who post on behalf of KCDPH must adhere to the following policies:

  • Departments/divisions with social media sites should assign an employee(s) to be administrator(s), responsible for the content and keeping the information relevant, current and compliant with the social media policy. The Department’s PIO should be added as administrator on any social media site in order to be able to address immediate concerns.
  • Information published on social media networks that has to do with any aspect of work must comply with the KCPHSD confidentiality statement, HIPPA, and the county code of ethics. This also applies to comments posted on other blogs, forums and other social networking websites.
  • Employees shall not create social media sites without the authorization of the appropriate department supervisor, with departmental oversight consultation from the department PIO.
  • Whenever possible social media sites should link back to the KCPHSD website.
  • Employees participating in social media sites shall limit the amount of time spent attending to department’s social media presence to what is needed to post content, evaluate traffic data, review related sites and monitor comments.
  • Employees responsible for sites must consider their audience. Remember that readers include current, past or potential clients and/or co-workers.
  • Employees will not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the KCPHSD workplace.
  • Administrators have the authority to delete any public comments that violate the Comments Policy.
  • KCPHSD respects the right of employees to write blogs and use social networking sites and does not want to discourage employees from self-publishing and self-expression. The department requires that employees make clear that any views and positions described on a personal blog or social network page are their own and not those of the department.

Comments Policy:

Any KCPHSD social media site in which the department permits public comments should contain the following language: “Posted comments do not necessarily represent the views of the Kern County Public Health Services Department.” The disclaimer should link back to the KCPHSD website where the complete social media policy is posted.

Once posted, KCPHSD social media site administrators reserve the right to delete submissions, including comments and photos, containing:

a) profanity and vulgar or abusive language;
b) personal attacks or threats of any kind;
c) offensive comments that target or disparage any ethnic, racial, religious group, or sexual orientation;
d) sensitive information (for example, information that could compromise public safety or ongoing investigations)
e) spam or include links to other sites;
f) comments not topically related to the particular social medium article being commented upon/clearly off topic;
g) advocate illegal activity;
h) promote particular services, products, or political organizations/candidates;
i) infringe on copyrights or trademarks;
j) use personally identifiable medical information.