To: All USAID/West Bank and Gaza Implementing Partners
Subject: Social Media Awareness
Dear Implementing Partners,
This notice serves as a reminder of best practices when using social media. In a recent incident within the region, an individual incorrectly self-identified as an employee of USAID on social media platforms. The individual made public comments counter to USAID and the USG's values.
Implementing Partner staff should not identify or represent themselves as USAID employees, whether on social media, emails, or other forms of communication. We encourage you to share the following guidance with your staff.
When you post on social media, you are publicly publishing your comments. For an individual who chooses to post or otherwise engage on social media we recommend that you not identify yourself as associated with an Implementing Partner associated with USAID. As noted above, you may never identify yourself as an employee of USAID. If you choose to identify yourself as employed or affiliated with an Implementing Partner associated with USAID, you must be mindful that you are linking your employer and USAID to your public comments and you must include a disclaimer in the post that the opinions and beliefs expressed are yours alone and not the opinions or beliefs of your employer, USAID or the USG. Even with inclusion of a disclaimer, we strongly recommend you use good judgment when creating a public record of your comments, opinions, or beliefs. Even if you do not tag or mention USAID in your social media profile, if you are known to be employed by an Implementing Partner affiliated with USAID, your public comments may be linked to your employer. As a rule of thumb, please ask yourself if you would feel comfortable making your comment to a reporter. In other words, if you wouldn’t say it to a reporter, it likely should not be posted online.
Implementing Partners are requested to review their internal policies – including personnel policies and codes of conduct – to ensure they are relevant to today’s social media context. As part of the U.S. Government, USAID employees must adhere to the requirements in 5 FAM 790. While the Foreign Affairs Manual does not apply to Implementing Partners, you are encouraged to consider the following with respect to your internal policies and procedures related to work-related social media usage by employees:
- Whether personal social media usage may affect the implementing partner’s performance of USAID awards;
- Whether social media posts may create a reputational or security risk to the implementing partner, USAID, the U.S. government, or our counterparts;
- Whether relations with key stakeholders may be adversely affected by social media posts;
- Whether proprietary or otherwise sensitive information may be disclosed by an employee;
- Whether work-related social media accounts comport with branding and marking requirements;
- Whether social media privacy settings are appropriate;
- Whether recruitment policies consider social media activities.
USAID takes this very seriously given the potential risk to our work and foreign policy objectives. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your respective COR/AOR or your OCM point of contact.