United Nations Secretariat Guidelines For The Personal Use of Social Media

March 5, 2019

These guidelines are a reminder of the value of tact, discretion, care and good judgment when using personal social media.

These guidelines are a reminder of the value of tact, discretion, care and good judgment when using personal social media.

• Think before posting and use common sense.Is the substance of a post in line with the impartiality required of and conduct befitting an international civil servant? Could it be interpreted in any way other than how it was intended? Is it a comment that could be made to the media or at a public event? If not, don’t post.

• Even if a disclaimer is added, such as “views expressed are my own”, your behaviour on social media is not exempt from the impartiality and conduct required, and befitting, of an international civil servant.

• The use of the name and emblem of the United Nations to further personal or third party interests is prohibited as it is reserved for the official purposes of the United Nations. However, this does not apply to the automatic generation of the UN emblem by a social media platform when you identify yourself asUN personnel.

• Be aware of privacy settings  and manage them accordingly. No matter how restrictive your privacy settings are, nothing on social media is private so you should ensure that what you post on social media is always consistent with how you wish to present yourself to the public. Everything posted online, even in a private group and/or if it is later edited or deleted, can easily become public and spread more widely than intended.

• Even if it is not stated publicly on your social media profile,  your status as a UN staff member is not private and can be discovered through a basic Internet search.

• Remember that official information that hasnot been made public cannot be disclosed through social media, except with prior authorization. Be sure to protect internal, sensitive, privileged and/or confidential information where disclosure would have an adverse impact on the Organization’s interests, operations and activities. This includes, at times, information about official travel and locations. It follows that you must obtain express permission for disclosure on social media of any information that has not been made public. This obligation does not cease upon separation from service.

• Don’t use a professional email address to setup personal social media accounts.

• Don’t use a pseudonym or false name to make comments or publish content related to the United Nations.

• Be mindful of sharing and liking posts from other accounts, which could be interpreted as an endorsement of the facts and opinions such posts represent.• Respect the privacy  rights of colleagues, partners and beneficiaries, particularly when posting photos and videos. Do not post information or images of beneficiaries, partners or colleagues in a personal capacity without their express permission.

• If you’re not sure about whether their social media activity is consistent with your obligations as an international civil servant, consult your supervisor, the Executive Office, the local administrative or human resources office, or the Ethics Office for advice and guidance.

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