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Maine State Government

Dept. of Administrative & Financial Services

Office of Information Technology



Social Media Policy


I. Statement of Policy

State of Maine (the “State”) agencies may use social media technologies to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange with citizens under the following guidelines and procedures.

II. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to define the use of social media by state employees while contributing to or overseeing agency social media sites or providing comments or updates to the agency’s social media identities.

In addition to this policy, social media content must be in compliance with all state and agency policies.  This includes policies on harassment and discrimination, confidentiality, ethics, and workplace violence, along with any applicable codes of conduct.

III. Guidelines and Procedures

A. Each agency head shall designate a Social Media Supervisor who will oversee all social media requests and interactions. For those agencies that designate someone other than their Web Coordinator, the designated person should work closely with the Web Coordinator. OIT will maintain a list of Social Media Supervisors  It is the responsibility of the agency to notify OIT of its agency’s designation.

B. The Social Media Supervisor shall authorize use consistent with this policy and the agency head’s direction.  Agency employees shall consult with their Social Media Supervisor prior to engaging in social media to ensure that participation and representation on social media sites is sanctioned. Legal counsel should be sought, when appropriate, prior to the agency engaging in social media.

C. Each agency must read and accept the social media site’s terms of use and be prepared to comply with the terms of the accepted agreement.

D. Social Media Use:

1. Required Work-Related Use:  This includes use of social media that is sanctioned as part of employee’s job function (e.g. when an employee, as part of their job responsibilities, tweets on behalf of the agency on the agency’s Twitter account). When this type of use is authorized the agency must ensure that:

a. Any social media sites used by an agency to provide information must be established in the name of the agency.
b. Any information posted is authorized by the designated agency Social Media Supervisor.
c. Only authorized employees post information on the agency sites.
d. Information posted is in compliance with the agency’s Terms of Comment (see V.A.2.).
e. Personal opinions are not to be posted on agency sites.
f. The purpose for using the social media site is defined and understood by any authorized poster.
g. Any authorized poster monitor the social media site to ensure compliance with this policy and all other applicable state polices.
h. Any authorized poster and the Social Media Supervisor remove any scandalous, libelous, defamatory, pornographic, etc. material that is posted.
i. A process will be instituted to save and retain all postings, outgoing and incoming, as all posted material is a public record.

2. Personal use at work:  This includes personal use of social media while at work by an employee (e.g. logging onto Facebook and providing personal updates to a Facebook page or Twitter account during work hours using their own or their agency’s information technology resources, when such activity is outside of the employee’s official job function).

a. Any such use shall be consistent with the Policy Concerning the Use of State-Owned Information and Technology (I.T.) and Related Communications Equipment and Resources and any additional use policies adopted by the agency.
b. Excessive personal use of social media during work hours is prohibited. 

3. Personal use outside of work:  This includes use of social media by an employee in his or her personal capacity outside of work.  

a. Employees are prohibited from posting official agency information on his or her personal media site. 
b. Employees’ personal use should not be attributable to the agency or employee’s job function at agency.

E. State harassment and discrimination policies, confidentiality policies, ethics rules, code of conduct, and workplace violence policies are applicable to all social media usage.

F. Agencies linking from a State web page to a non-State social media site or landing page must indicate to users that the site is not an official Maine State government site and that a third party’s website policies apply.

G. Social media participants must abide by laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others.  Entire articles or publications should not be reprinted without first receiving written permission from the publication’s author/owner.  Never quote more than a short excerpt of someone else’s work and, if possible, provide a link to the original.  When referencing a law, regulation, policy, or other website, if possible, provide a link or the citation. 

H. Social media sites contain communications sent to or received by state agency and are therefore public records subject to State Records Retention law.   These retention requirements apply regardless of the form of the record (digital text, photos, audio, or video, for example).   See the record managements section of the Secretary of State’s website for full details: Each agency must ensure that it retains a copy of the social media content in accordance with the State’s records retention requirements. Agencies must review the social media service provider’s terms of service for its records retention practices. While social media providers may save content for some period of time, they generally will not save it indefinitely. To the extent that the social media providers’ policies are inconsistent with Maine’s records retentions requirements, an agency must retain its own copies of social media posts.

I. Agencies making use of social media sites are to be aware that social media providers may incorporate advertisements into its site.  State procurement and ethics laws prohibit employees or agencies from endorsing products or vendors.  In addition, the .GOV registration program guidelines (applicable for those websites that are hosted within the domain) generally prohibit ad campaigns and endorsements.  Thus, the agency must limit its association with advertising by (1) amending the Terms of Service of the social media provider if possible; (2) using, whenever possible, non-branded landing pages within the social media website or (3) not joining the social media site.


IV. Applicability

This policy applies to social media participation by all Executive Branch and semi autonomous state agencies. As the technology evolves, this policy may be amended to ensure consistency in the use of technologies by state employees.


Each agency’s statutes, policies and procedures regarding confidential information apply to the use of social media. All federal and state statues and policies apply including:

·        Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

·        Accessibility Policy on Effective Electronic Communications

·        Information Technology Security Policy (PDF), Web Accessibility Policy for the State of Maine   

·        Policy on Access to Data and Information on State Owned Computer Devices

·        Policy Concerning the Use of State-Owned Information and Technology I.T.) and Related Communications Equipment and Resources

·        Maine State Archive - Record Retention Schedules.

·        Maine’s Freedom of Access Act

V. Responsibility

A. Agency


Once an agency has decided to engage in the use of social media, the agency will

1. Designate a Social Media Supervisor who will authorize specific employees to post, update and monitor the agency’s social media identity or page.

2. Create a Terms of Comment which will describe how the agency intends to manage user contributions to the agency’s social media site (such as an agency’s wiki or a blog).  The Terms of Comment shall also describe the review process prior to posting comments and the selection criteria for comment posting (e.g. on-topic, non-duplicative, not obscene or offensive etc.).  Comments shall be monitored by authorized agency staff.  The Terms of Comment must be provided to each employee authorized by the Social Media Supervisor to post information on behalf for the agency.

3. Clearly indicate to employees and public users when social media used by the agency is hosted by a third party that has its own privacy policy and terms of service.   

4. Advise its employees using social media sites that social media providers used by the agency may collect personal information through use of the social media site; that this personal information will be disseminated online via the social media site; and that its dissemination will not be subject to the restrictions described in State of Maine technology policies.

B. OIT – OIT is responsible for maintaining a list of agency Social Media Supervisors.  

C. Chief Information Officer of the State of Maine - Title 5, Maine Revised Statutes, Chapter 163 §1973, Section 1, Paragraph B authorized the Chief Information Officer to  “set policies and standards for the implementation and use of information and telecommunications technologies, including privacy and security standards and standards of the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), for information technology.


VI. Definitions

A. Landing page - A landing page is the page website visitors arrive at after clicking on a link on another website. It could be a home page, or any other page in a site.

B. Semi-autonomous State Agency - An Agency created by an act of the Legislative Branch that is not a part of the Executive Branch. This term does not include the Legislative and Judicial Branches, Offices of the Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Audit Department.

C. Social Media Identity – A social media identity is a user identity or account that has been registered on a third party social media site.

D. Social Media or Networking – The terms social media and social networking are used interchangeably.  Social media is a set of technologies and channels targeted at forming and enabling a potentially massive community of participants to productively collaborate. Social media includes: blogs, wikis, microblogging sites, such as Twitter™; social networking sites, such as Facebook™ and LinkedIn™; video sharing sites, such as YouTube™; and bookmarking sites such as™. 

E. Social Media Sites – Social media sites refer to websites that facilitate user participation, networking and collaboration through the submission of user generated content.

F. Social Media Supervisor – The Social Media Supervisor is an individual within an agency who oversees all agency social media sites and ensures compliance with this and all other applicable state policies.  This individual is responsible for authorizing employees to post on state sites and for the content of such postings.  OIT will maintain a list of Social Media Supervisors as designated by each respective agency.

G. Web Coordinator – The Web Coordinator develops website management plans for their agencies and submits these plans to OIT.  A website management plan identifies roles and responsibilities, site monitoring and evaluation, content maintenance, oversight, user feedback and other aspects of an agency’s website. OIT maintains a list of agency Web Coordinators.

VII. References

A. IT Policies, Standards and Procedures

B.  Website Standards

VIII. Document Information

A. Document Reference Number: 37

B. Category: Computing Environment and Platform

C. Adoption Date: August 3, 2010

D. Effective Date: August 3, 2010

E. Review Date: August 3, 2011

F. Point of Contact:  Director, OIT Project Management Office

G.  Approved By:  Greg McNeal, Acting Chief Information Officer, State House Station #138, Augusta, ME 04333, (207) 624-8800.

H.  Position Title(s) or Agency responsible for enforcement:  Director, OIT Project Management Office

I. Legal Citation: Title 5, Maine Revised Statutes, Chapter 163 §1973, Section 1, Paragraph B authorizes the CIO to “set policies and standards for the implementation and use of information and telecommunications technologies.

J. Waiver Policy: