This page sets out the Council’s social media acceptable use policy across all its social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, NextDoor).
Wealden DC uses social media to provide opportunities for genuine, open, honest, and transparent engagement with our customers. We use our social media platforms to publicise our services and campaigns and to provide information and advice to our residents. We welcome comments and engagement with our content.
Please remember that when posting comments, you are dealing with real people. We request that you treat our staff the way you would like to be treated, in a respectful and polite way. We understand that people have differing views on many issues, however any form of cyber-bullying is not acceptable on any platform.
We will generally not comment on or respond to comments about our posts. We encourage users to contact us via Direct Message if they have a specific question or comment about a post which they require comment on from us.
Whilst we actively monitor our platforms, if you do notice any offensive comments on our sites at any time, please send us a private message to let us know with a screenshot of the message. You can also report this comment to Facebook.
Most social networks and blogs have their own official rules and guidelines, which we will always follow. We also reserve the right to remove or report any online comments that break the following guidelines:
- No disruptive, offensive or abusive behaviour (this includes swearing, adapted spellings with the same meaning, inciting hate crime, etc.)
- No personal attacks or offensive comments
- No unlawful or objectionable content (this includes any form of discrimination or promoting illegal activity, etc.)
- No spamming or unauthorised promotion of websites or services
- No impersonation
- Do not publicise your, or anyone else’s, contact details or other personal information.
In order to provide a safe and inviting place for other users to engage with our services we may delete, turn off or block users who continue to make comments that go against our guidelines.
We hold the right to delete comments on our posts that do not fit within the guidelines of this policy. These will be kept on record for 12 months and then deleted.
The following types of comments may be deleted:
- Defamatory, slanderous, misleading, or false
- Abusive or threatening – this includes swearing, adapted spellings with the same meaning, etc.
- Intimidatory towards our staff, elected members or other platform users
- Inciting hate crime or hate crime words – see Sussex Police
- Discriminatory in any way
- Promoting illegal activity
- Promoting individual products or services
- The same message posted multiple times, otherwise known as ‘spamming’
- Obscene, profane or sexually oriented
- Controversial, irrelevant and off topic, otherwise known as ‘trolling’
- Any other content that the Officer believes to be unacceptable
In some extreme instances, we may screenshot your comments and send them to the Police for further investigation.
We reserve the right to block users that are repeat offenders of our acceptable use policy.
A user will get one warning before being blocked from that social media account for six months. This will only limit their contact with us on that particular channel of social media and they will still be able to contact us via telephone and email if needed.
After six months, our contact with the individual concerned will be reviewed and if they have followed this Policy, the account will be unblocked and they will be allowed to interact with our content again.
Turning off comments
We reserve the right to turn off comments on posts where we see fit. This may be due to a post covering a sensitive topic or the inability to monitor this consistently over a period of time (e.g. over a weekend).
If the ability to comment has been switched off, any comments related to this post on other posts will be deleted without a response.
Managed Contacts List
If you have been added to our ‘Managed Contacts List’, your profile will be blocked on social media, along with any alias accounts.
As laid out in the letter you will receive, your only point of contact will be via Information Governance. Please see our Managed Contact Policy
Hate crime is defined as any incident that’s seen by the victim (or any other person) as being motivated by prejudice or hate towards their actual or perceived social identity. Social identities include:
- Gender identity
- Race, ethnicity or nationality
- Religion, faith or belief
- Sexual orientation
Hate and harassment can take the form of criminal or non-criminal behaviour and can include offensive comments or images on social media or text messages.
Find out more about hate crime, including how to report hate and harassment on the Sussex Police website.
Allegations against council staff and elected members
We have a zero-tolerance approach toward fraud and corruption in our organisation. If you make an allegation on our social media accounts against the council, a member of staff or an elected member, we’ll ask you to report it (along with your evidence) to Sussex Police, or you can report it to us via our online complaints form.
False accusations, misleading information or unsubstantiated allegations against the Council or its officers will be removed.
Safeguarding allegations or disclosures
If you make any safeguarding allegations or disclosures on our social media accounts, these will be passed onto the relevant organisations as part of our duty of care. It is better to raise these concerns directly via the correct channels. See our webpage Safeguarding adults and children
We are committed to providing high quality services with our customers at the heart of everything we do. We do our best to make sure your contact with us is professional, courteous and goes beyond your expectations.
However, we do accept that sometimes things can go wrong and at these times we need to listen to your views and put things back on the right track. The Council’s complaints procedure gives more information on what is considered a complaint and how you can raise one. See our webpage Complaints Procedure
If you are blocked from our social media you can appeal this decision to the Head of People and Organisational Development. Please direct your appeal through the councils complaints procedure. The grounds for your exclusion will be reviewed and reinstated if it is found you have not the standards set out in this policy
Whatever type of election, if you post anything which could be interpreted as supporting a party or candidate during the pre-election period we may have to delete it.