Participating on social media networks is quickly becoming the
norm for emergency service organization (ESO) employees and
volunteers (members). Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn,
personal web pages and blogs are only a few of the current
social media resources that are tapped frequently. ESO
members’ usage, written content, as well as photographic and
video-based images on their social media sites can create a
multitude of problems, if used inappropriately, for them as
individuals and the ESOs for which they work.
Members’ participation in social media communications could
be considered a breach of confidential information,
inappropriate, offensive, unprofessional, disparaging,
defamatory, discriminatory or harassing. Among other risks, an
ESO could be held liable for its members’ postings on their
personal social media networking sites.
It is strongly recommended that the ESO works with locally
retained labor and employment counsel to develop policy
language pertaining to members’ usage of social media.
Because of new social media technologies, case law as well as
legislation that involves making personnel decisions such as
hiring/selection, discipline, terminations, demotions or
promotions is evolving jurisdictionally.
Social media carries a greater risk of the information being
distributed to many outside the originally intended scope of
communication. Educate ESO members about exercising sound
judgment when utilizing social media, while reinforcing the
potentially detrimental impact of irresponsible
Learn more in the VFIS Social Media communique in Safety Central.