The Australian Public Service Commission has released a new social media policy on making public comments on social media. The guide indicates that government employees could lose their jobs, or risk disciplinary action, if they post, disagree or interact with anti-government content on social media, even out of hours and on their personal profiles.
The Canberra Times states “the new rules warn public servants don’t have unlimited rights of free speech, including warning against breaches of the Public Service Code of Conduct through criticising departments, the government, and opposition or through expressing negative views on government policies.”
The article went on to state that “Liking, reposting and sharing social media content or even selecting Facebook’s “angry face” icon could breach employment conditions, while not taking sensible action about objectionable material posted by someone else could be seen as endorsement.”
The guide also warns against anonymous anti-government posting, as public servants can be traced, through screenshots taken by colleagues or being reported by someone in their department or through digital means.
The guidelines cover a range of topics, from liking and sharing content or petitions to liking pages and joining groups. Do you work for an Australian Government agency? Find out more about making public comment in the guidelines.