This policy applies to all employees of the FDA and defines processes and expectations for using social media on behalf of the agency.
The FDA encourages the use of social media technologies to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange in support of FDA’s mission to protect and promote public health. The FDA encourages employees to use social media to share information that may benefit the public health.
This policy highlights:
- Roles and responsibilities (i.e., details for process);
- Requirements (i.e., creation of strategy and plan for existing channels; creation of business plan for new channels)
- Policies and considerations (e.g., 508 compliancy, privacy, shortened links, ethics, copyright, records management, correction of errors, Terms of Service, Links to the social media Guidance for Industry).
A substantial portion of points came from its distinction between official and personal use of social media, and notably, the freedom it gives to its employees on the latter. Not all agencies’ policies made this important distinction in clarifying how their employees can use social media and only a few match or exceed the FDA policy’s excellent guidance on personal use of social media.
Another strong feature of the FDA social media policy is its provision outlining the right and procedure for scientists to get corrections for anything that relies on their science that’s incorrectly put out on social media (either by accident or intent).
To round out its strong policy, the FDA social media policy also specifies to whom the policy applies, which includes contractors, encourages its employees to use social media to promote the agencies’ mission and public health, and includes a comprehensive list of links to relevant policies and information from within the agency and across the government.
To read the article by Gretchen Goldman, lead analyst, Center for Science and Democracy