Social Media Policy

1. Policy

This policy on social media applies to all those working on behalf of, volunteering with or involved with the Parishes of Christ Church, Carrowdore and St. Patrick’s, Millisle.  Social media is the collective term referring to social and professional networking sites (for example Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter), blogs, wikis, boards and other similar online fora and the policy extends to all such sites and incorporates any future developments of such media. Breaches of this policy will be investigated and the organisation retains the right to take disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal.

2. Applies to all employees, volunteers and contractors

The Parish recognises that employees use social media tools as part of their daily lives. All should always be mindful of what they are posting, who can see it, and how it can be linked back to the Parish and members of the Parish. 

Parish employees, volunteers and contractors are prohibited from using or publishing information on any social media sites, where such use has the potential negatively to affect the Parish, Diocese or Church of Ireland

Examples of such behaviour include, but are not limited to: 

  • publishing material that is defamatory, abusive or offensive in relation to any employee, manager, office holder or other stakeholder of the Parish, Diocese or Church of Ireland
  • publishing any confidential or business-sensitive information about the Parish, Diocese or Church of Ireland
  • publishing material that might reasonably be expected to have the effect of damaging the reputation or professional standing of the Parish, Diocese or Church of Ireland

3. Rules regarding usage

  1. Be aware of your association with the Church of Ireland when using online social networks. You must always identify yourself and your role if you mention or comment on Social Media. Where you identify yourself, ensure your profile and related content is consistent with how you would present yourself with members of the Parish, Diocese and wider Church of Ireland. 
  2. You are personally responsible for what you post or publish on social media sites. Where it is found that any information breaches any policy, such as breaching confidentiality or bringing the Parish into disrepute, you may face disciplinary action 
  3. Be aware of data protection rules – you must not post details or pictures without individual permission. Photographs of events should not be posted online without consent. 
  4. Be respectful at all times, in both the content and tone of what you say. Show respect to your audience, your colleagues and stakeholders. Do not post or publish any comments or content relating to the Parish, Diocese or Church of Ireland, which would be seen as unacceptable or in conflict with the ethos of the Church of Ireland. 
  5. Once in the public domain, content cannot be retracted. Therefore always take time to review your content in an objective manner before uploading. If in doubt, ask someone to review it for you
  6. If you make a mistake, be the first to point it out and correct it quickly. You may factually point out misrepresentations, but do not create an argument
  7. It is very important that you immediately report any inappropriate activity or behaviour. Inform the Rector or another member of the select vestry. All allegations made in good faith will be fully and confidentially investigated. 
  8. This policy extends to future developments in internet capability and social media usage

In addition to the above rules, there are a number of key guiding principles to should note when using social media tools: 

  • always remember on-line content is never completely private
  • regularly review your privacy settings on social media platforms to ensure they provide you with sufficient personal protection and limit access by others
  • consider all online information with caution as there is no quality control process on the internet and a considerable amount of information may be inaccurate or misleading
  • at all times respect copyright and intellectual property rights of information you encounter on the internet. This may require obtaining appropriate permission to make use of information. You must always give proper credit to the source of the information used

4. Social media security

You are responsible for all postings made on or to your social media accounts. This applies to: postings or activity made directly by you, postings or activity made by any other party but under your username/account, and/or postings made by friends or third parties to your accounts (e.g., Facebook wall posts made by Facebook friends to your timeline).

You must be conscious at all times of your overall online presence and its effect, or potential effect, on the Parish, Diocese and wider Church of Ireland.  

You are therefore advised to maintain the security of your personal social media accounts. This includes, but is not limited to: using secure passwords, changing passwords regularly, not disclosing your passwords to third parties, and logging out of accounts when leaving your computer/devices unattended. If you are concerned about any activity on your social media account, however created, and its interaction with your employment, please contact your manager immediately.