Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin
To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and to inform more people about Commission activities, the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River Basin (ICPRB) is using social media tools to reach a broader audience. This policy establishes guidelines for the use of social media.
No comments posted on social media networks shall represent the opinions of the ICPRB, its Commissioners, its employees, its funding agencies, or the signatory bodies of ICPRB: District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, or the United States. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other nongovernmental organizations or individuals that are approved for publishing are provided solely for the information of individuals using social networking sites. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of ICPRB, or its officers, board members or employees, concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any policy, product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying endorsement or approval of any policy, product, person, or service.
Social networking media sites are subject to the Maryland Public Information Act, and therefore any content posted is subject to public disclosure. Any claims made regarding ICPRB social networking postings shall be governed by Maryland law. Any person posting to social networking sites monitored or moderated by ICPRB hereby consents to the jurisdiction of the Maryland state courts and venue in Montgomery County, Maryland.
The ICPRB assumes no liability for any content posted on or emails originating from social networking sites and shall not be liable for any damages of any kind resulting from the use of or inability to use the sites, the content of the postings, or the operation of the social networking sites. Any person posting to or authoring and disseminating emails using mailing lists associated with the social networking sites shall indemnify and hold the ICPRB harmless for all claims resulting from that person’s use of the social networking sites, its operation and/or its contents.
The ICPRB makes no representations, guarantees or warranties and disclaims all warranties, express or implied, regarding the poster’s operation or that any content posted or emailed and disseminated by individuals on the social networking sites is correct, and shall not be liable for any errors or omissions, loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of reliance on the use or operation of the social networking sites, or any content posted on sites. Any person posting to the sites or authoring and disseminating emails warrants and represents that he or she either owns or otherwise controls all of the rights to the content posted, and shall indemnify and hold ICPRB harmless for all claims resulting from such content.
The ICPRB recognizes that the Web is a 24 hour a day 7 day a week medium and comments posted on and emails originating from social networking sites monitored or moderated by ICPRB staff are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage ICPRB resources, monitoring and replying to comments will occur during regular business hours. Comments and emails posted after hours or on weekends are not monitored, but will be reviewed as soon as practicable, in most cases, this means the next business day.
In order to promote open and honest discussion, a full name and verifiable e-mail address is required for each comment posted to ICPRB social networking sites (as required by hosting sites). Comments posted under false names, from unverifiable e-mail addresses or duplicate comments submitted from multiple e-mail addresses will be deleted as soon as practicable; in most cases this means the next business day.
To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personal information, such as Social Security numbers, phone numbers, e-mail or resident addresses in the body of your comment. Comments that contain such personal information will be removed as soon as practicable.
In addition to this policy, users will be subject to all applicable regulations, policies and terms of ICPRB monitored or moderated social networking sites.
ICPRB reserves the right to modify this policy at any time. Each social media tool approved for use by the ICPRB will be listed in the ICPRB Social Networking Media Standard which further describes establishment and content of new social networking media tools.
- All ICPRB social media sites created and maintained by staff members will be subject to approval by the Communications Manager and Executive Director.
- The best, most appropriate uses of social media tools for ICPRB fall generally into two categories:
- As channels for disseminating time-sensitive information as quickly as possible (example: emergency river conditions information).
- As educational channels which increase ICPRB’s ability to broadcast its mission and relevant information to the widest possible audience.
- ICPRB website (https://www.potomacriver.org) will remain the organization’s primary and predominant internet presence.
- Wherever possible, content posted to ICPRB social media sites will also be available on https://www.potomacriver.org.
- Wherever possible, content posted to ICPRB social media sites should contain links directing users back to specific pages of interest on https://www.potomacriver.org for in-depth information, forms, documents or online services.
- As is the case for https://www.potomacriver.org, ICPRB Communications Unit staff will be responsible for the content and upkeep of any social media sites.
- Wherever possible, all ICPRB social media sites shall comply with all appropriate ICPRB policies and standards, including but not limited to, the ICPRB Social Networking Media Standard. Any exceptions will be approved by the Communications Manager and Executive Director.
- Users and visitors to ICPRB social media sites shall be notified that the intended purpose of the site is to serve as a mechanism for communication between ICPRB and members of the public. ICPRB social media postings, comments, or emails containing any of the following forms of content shall not be allowed:
- Language or content that is spam or not topically related to the particular post being commented on;
- Vulgar, abusive or unlawful content;
- Libelous or defamatory content;
- Personal attacks or threats of any kind;
- Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation;
- Content that violates a legal ownership right or interest including without limitation, a copyright, trademark or patent;
- Comments in support of or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures;
- Promotions, advertisements or endorsements of commercial services, products or entities;
- Anonymous content;
- Sexual content or links to sexual content;
- Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity;
- Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;
- Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party;
- Personal information (addresses, social security numbers, etc.) of any person; or
- Submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.
- ICPRB reserves the right to block future postings by a user if any of the above forms of content are utilized.
- ICPRB reserves the right to remove any content that is deemed in violation of this social media policy or any applicable law or considered not to be in the best interest of the Commission.
- All new social media tools proposed for ICPRB use will be approved by the Communications Manager and Executive Director.
- Administration of ICPRB social media sites.
- The Communications Unit will maintain a list of social media (list is included in the Social Networking Media Standard) which are approved for use by ICPRB sections and staff.
- The Communications Unit will maintain a list of all ICPRB social media sites, including login and password information. It will inform the Executive Director of any new social media sites or administrative changes to existing sites.
- The Communications Unit will immediately edit or remove content from social media sites within the confines of normal business hours.
Social networking sites are growing in popularity. Businesses and governments have joined individuals in using sites such as Facebook, Chesapeake Network and blog websites to promote activities, programs, projects and events. These standards should be used in conjunction with ICPRB’s Social Media Use Policy. As selected social networking sites change these standards may be updated as
Establishing a page
When an ICPRB work unit determines it has a business need for a social media network account, it will submit a request to the Communications Manager. Once approved, the Communications Unit will create the standardized organization page for the work unit. Applications are not to be added to a social networking site without approval of the Communication Manager.
- Type of ‘pages’ or ‘groups’
- ICPRB will create ‘pages’ in Facebook not ‘groups.’ Facebook ‘pages’ offer distinct advantages including greater visibility, customization and measurability.
- ICPRB will create ‘groups’ on Chesapeake Network.
- ICPRB will create ‘blogs’ on Blogger.
- The Communications Unit will standardize and provide social networking sites page’s image, where possible consisting of a picture and ICPRB logo.
- ICPRB mission statement and monitoring clause shall be listed on sites where possible:
- i. The ICPRB’s mission is to enhance, protect, and conserve the water and associated land resources of the Potomac River and its tributaries through regional and interstate cooperation. Considered the “Nation’s River,” for more than five million basin residents, the river plays an important role in the lives of all. Through regional cooperation and partnerships, ICPRB is protecting the river and improving the quality of life in the watershed, as it has since 1940.
- ii. The following statement will be displayed on any ICPRB moderated group, Facebook or homepage: Postings and associated comments shall NOT represent the opinions of the ICPRB, its Commissioners, its employees, its funding agencies, or the signatory bodies of ICPRB: District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, or the United States. The ICPRB is NOT responsible for the content of any blog posting or associated comment on this ICPRB moderated site. The full ICPRB social media use policy is available online at https://www.potomacriver.org/cms/abouticprbdocs/online_policies.pdf.
- iii. Where possible, the following disclaimer or link to an electronic version of the disclaimer shall be displayed:
Comments posted to this page will be monitored. Under the ICPRB Social Media Use Policy, the ICPRB reserves the right to remove inappropriate postings including language or content that is spam or not topically related to the particular post being commented on; vulgar, abusive or unlawful content; libelous or defamatory content; personal attacks or threats of any kind; content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation; content that violates a legal ownership right or interest including without limitation, a copyright, trademark or patent; comments in support of or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures; promotions or endorsements of commercial services, products or entities; anonymous content; sexual content or links to sexual content; conduct or encouragement of illegal activity; information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems; content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party; personal information (addresses, social security numbers, etc.) of any person; or submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.
- Link to the ICPRB website
- A link to https://www.potomacriver.org/ will be included on any introductory/information pages.
- Page/Group naming and Style
- The Communications Manager and Executive Director will approve proposed names.
- Images for social networking pages and groups will be based on a template that is consistent with ICPRB standards.
- Staff members using social network media on behalf ICPRB will use proper grammar and standard Associated Press (AP) style, avoiding jargon and abbreviations. Social network media is more casual than most other communication tools but still represents the ICPRB at all times.
- Page/group administrators
A successful page/group requires “babysitting” by a site administrator. Site administrators will be “trained” and coordinated by the Communications Unit for consistency across platforms.
- The Communications Unit is responsible for making sure content is up to date.
- In the event technical knowledge is required to respond to a post, the Communications Unit will consult with other staff members to construct and post the most accurate and scientifically sound response.
- Other staff members requesting a post understand that they are responsible for supplying answers to ensuing inquiries.
- There are thousands of Facebook applications. Common applications can allow users to stream video and music, post photos, and view and subscribe to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds. While some may be useful to the page’s mission, they can cause clutter and security risks. Therefore, an application should not be used unless it serves a business purpose, adds to the user experience, comes from a trusted source and is approved by the Communications Manager.
- An application may be removed at any time if there is significant reason to think it is causing a security breach or spreading viruses or if deemed to be not in the best interest of the ICPRB.
Currently approved Social Networking Media Tools:
- Chesapeake Network
- Blogger Blogs
Additional tools may be added as approved by the Communications Manager and Executive Director.
ICPRB Social Media Use Policy: Drafted on 12/10/2010 Revised 03/17/2011