4.30m Social Media Administration - Regulation

Document Type: Regulation
Number: 4.30m
Effective: 01-04-13
Revised: 05-15-15, 10-25-18
Legal References: IC 9-337 (13), IC 9-338



The City of Boise recognizes that social media can be a highly effective tool for sharing ideas and exchanging information. The City is committed to using social media to promote the City’s mission and strategic plan and to maintain effective communications with employees, customers, business partners and citizens.

The City has an interest and responsibility in determining what is published on behalf of the City via social media. The purpose of social media is to disseminate information from the City and its departments, to its citizens to provide a forum for discussion and to gather feedback from residents and visitors on City-related issues.

This regulation establishes rules for the creation and use of social media by City employees as a means of conveying City related content to its citizens. This regulation applies to all City departments, boards, commissions, elected officials, employees and volunteers.


A. Social Media – web and mobile based technologies which are used for interactive communication by organizations, communities and individuals often utilizing, but not limited to, third-party services that connect users to one another. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube, MySpace, Second Life, Delicious, Yelp, Flickr, Picasa, blogs, message boards, and chat rooms. Social media may exist in many different forms including, but not limited to, internet forums, online profiles, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video, email, instant messaging, music sharing, and voice over IP.

B. Posts – content published through social media that may consist of dialogue, pictures, videos, URLs, articles, or other communicative content.

C. Comments – response, reply, observation or opinion made via a social media to a post or another comment, usually made by outside third parties.

D. Digital Equipment – includes but is not limited to computers, laptops, telephones, cellular phones, smart phones, and iPods. Any technology provided by the City for communication, computing, etc., is covered by this definition.

E. Electronic Communication – any communication made via digital equipment including but not limited to email, texts, phone calls, voicemail and tweets.

F. Disparaging Remarks – posts or comments made to ridicule, discredit, or demean another person.

G. The City - City of Boise City and all of its departments, boards, commissions, officials, officers, employees and volunteers.

H. Department - For the purpose of this regulation, the term “department” includes all departments, all boards and commissions, the City Council and the Mayor’s office.


All City sponsored social media shall comply with all City policies and regulations, including, but not limited to:

A. City Code of Ethics
B. Equal Employment Opportunity
C. Standards of Conduct
D. Information Technology Acceptable Use
E. Political Activities
F. Proprietary Rights
G. Guidelines for City of Boise Logo Use


Social media network access shall be limited to those with a clear business purpose to use the forum. Only official spokespersons, Public Information Officers (PIO) and authorized individuals shall have permission to create, publish or comment on behalf of the City, a department, board, commission or elected official. All users shall obtain authorization, as described within this section, prior to creating and maintaining a page or site associated with the City on a social media network. All authorized social media pages or sites associated with the City shall belong to and be managed by the City.

A. Departments may authorize the establishment of and use of City social media accounts. During this authorization, departments shall evaluate the requests for usage, determine its appropriateness, and designate an employee(s) authorized to use social media.

B. Only individuals who are authorized by the Department Director or designee, or equivalent chairperson of a board, commission, or City Council are permitted to access, manage and/or post via City social media for the purpose of conducting City business.

C. Departments will be responsible for maintaining an up to date list of all social networking application domain names in use, the names of all authorized employee administrators or users of these accounts, as well as the associated user identifications and passwords currently active within their respective departments.

D. Oversight of City sponsored social media shall be performed at the department level by supervisors of those authorized to manage the department’s social media activity. All posts on City social media shall be in accordance with this regulation. Departments shall monitor their social media for comments requesting responses from the City and for comments in violation of this regulation. Departments will also monitor content on City social media to ensure adherence to this regulation and the interests and goals of the City. The department responsible for the creation and/or maintenance of social media content shall ensure that it is able to edit or remove this content.

E. Authorized individuals representing the City on City social media must conduct themselves at all times as a representative of the City in accordance with all City policies and regulations.

F. When an individual responds to a comment in his/her official capacity as a City employee, the individual shall not share personal information about himself or herself, or other City employees. If a department has multiple individuals posting or commenting on behalf of the City, those individuals shall coordinate their responses to ensure that conflicting views and/or information is not being disseminated.

G. Whenever possible, City social media should link back to the official City website for forms, documents, online services, and other information necessary to conduct business with the City.

H. Use of posted photographs on social media sites shall abide by all copyright and printed material laws.

I. Use of the City’s logos in social media shall conform to the City’s Guidelines for City of Boise Logo Use.

J. All City social media shall adhere to applicable federal, state, and local laws, regulations and policies.

K. All content or comments made in any social media shall conform to that site’s terms and conditions of use.


As a public entity the City must serve all of its constituents in a civil and unbiased manner. City social media posts and comments containing any of the following inappropriate forms of content shall not be allowed and are subject to removal and/or restriction by the City:

A. Comments unrelated to the purpose and topical scope of the page, which includes random or unintelligible comments;

B. Profane, obscene or violent language and/or content;

C. Defamatory, personal attacks, or invasion of personal privacy;

D. Threats to any person or organization;

E. Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, citizenship status, disability, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity/expression;

F. Sexual content or links to sexual content;

G. Any comments for the solicitation of commerce that is not related to the City of Boise or its business partners, including but not limited to advertising of any business or product for sale;

H. Comments in support of or opposition to political campaigns, or candidates

I. Encouragement, solicitation to commit, or speech integral to, illegal activity;

J. Conduct in violation of any federal, state, or local laws;

K. Information that may tend to compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems;

L. Content that violates a legal ownership interest, such as trademark, patent, or copyright, of any other party; or

M. Confidential or proprietary information.

If activity listed in I or K above occurs, employees are expected to secure the information and notify the Boise Police Department.


A Terms of Use Statement (see Exhibit 4.30mm) shall be prepared for each City social media site. The Terms of Use Statement must be displayed or made available by hyperlink on each City social media site.


Nothing in this regulation bestows an individual right nor may it be construed to provide an expectation of privacy.

Users of social media should be mindful that once content is placed online, it is no longer under the user’s control. Content posted to the internet is immediate and does not expire.

Participation in social media, whether by City or non-City internet resources and whether made while on or off duty must not violate the privacy rights of other City employees or customers or violate any City policy or regulation.


Idaho state law and relevant City of Boise records retention schedules apply to social media formats and social media content.

The City reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this regulation or any applicable law. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained by the Department pursuant to the relevant records retention schedule, including the time, date and identity of the poster or commenter, when available.

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