Social Media Policy


This policy is to establish guidelines on the use of social media sites by the City of Villa Park (“City”) as an additional means of conveying City information to its members and visitors and maximizing the promotion of City programs and services.

The intended purpose of establishing social media pages for the City is to establish an interactive communication platform and to disseminate information from the City and about the City to its members and visitors.  This policy is also intended to mitigate associated risks from use of social media technology where possible.

The City has an overriding interest and expectation in protecting the integrity of information posted on its social media pages and deciding what is “spoken” on behalf of the City.  This policy applies wholly to the City and all City employees who use social media sites and/or technology on behalf of the City.

All questions relating to this policy should be directed to the City Manager.

A.   Definitions

“Social media sites” means content created by individuals, using accessible and interactive publishing technologies through and on the internet.  Social media uses many technologies and platforms, including social networking, blogs, wikis, photo and video sharing, and more.

“City social media page” means a page on a social media site which the City establishes and maintains, and over which it has control over all postings, except for advertisements or hyperlinks by the social media site’s owners, vendors or partners.

“Post” or “Comment” means information, articles, pictures, videos, hyperlinks or any other form of content or communication posted on any City social media page.

B.   General Policy

The City’s official website at will remain the City’s primary source and means of internet communication.  To the extent possible, a link to the City’s official website shall be included on any City social media page.  Wherever possible, City social media pages should link back to the official City website for forms, documents, online services and other information necessary to conduct business with the City.  Information posted by the City on social media pages will supplement and not replace required notices and standard methods of communication.

Not all forms of social media may be appropriate for use by the City and any social media page established on behalf of the City must be approved by the City Manager.  Consideration shall be given to the overall nature, theme and suitability for use for City purposes.

City social media pages should make clear that they are maintained by the City and state that they follow the City’s social media policy.  To the extent possible, this policy must be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink.

All photos posted by the City on its social media pages shall be for use in marketing and promotion of City programs and services. Under no circumstances will the City use photos of individuals who expressly ask that their photos not be made public.

City social media pages are subject to the California Public Records Act.  Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to City business, including a list of subscribers, posted communication, and communication submitted for posting, may be a public record subject to public disclosure.  All such content must be retained with the Public Records Act and the City’s document retention policy.

Employees representing the City and posting content on behalf of the City on its social medial pages must conduct themselves at all times as a representative of the City and in accordance with all City policies.  Employees found in violation of this policy may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

This policy may be revised at any time upon approval by the City Manager.  Every attempt will be made to provide prior notice of any changes.  However, when deemed necessary in order to fully protect the City’s interests, the interests of the public, and to more fully protect the safety of the public, including employees governed by this policy, then this policy may be changed without notice.

C.   Site Management and Content

Social media sites approved for official use by the City include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All approved social media sites must provide a mechanism for the employee to remove posts or prevent the posting of content that violates this policy.

The City’s staff shall administer and monitor the City’s social media pages and shall maintain all login and password information.

The City’s social media pages are to be used for informational purposes and all content must pertain to the City and/or City business, programs, services or events.  The City shall have full permission and rights to any content posted by or on behalf of the City, including all photographs and videos.

City social media pages shall be managed consistent with the Brown Act, the Political Reform Act, and the California Election Code.  Members of the City’s City Council or advisory committees shall not post or respond to any posts, comments or publications on any City social media page, or use any City social media page to blog or engage in serial meetings, or otherwise discuss, deliberate, or express opinions on any issue within the subject matter jurisdiction of the City Council, or for any political purpose.

City staff will be responsible for posting content on the City’s social media pages on behalf of the City, monitoring content, responding to comments where appropriate, and ensuring adherence to this policy.  Staff must review the City’s social media pages on a daily basis to ensure compliance with this policy.  In addition, staff must immediately alert the City Manager to any potential content posted on the City’s social media pages that violates this policy.

Content posted by staff on the City’s social media pages shall be done during normal business hours.  After-hours and weekend postings of content shall only be made with approval from the City Manager.

Any employee authorized to post content on the City’s social media pages shall not express his or her own personal views or concerns.  Rather, posting of content by any authorized employee shall only reflect the views of the City.

Any employee authorized to post on the City’s social media pages shall review, be familiar with, and comply with this policy and the social media site’s use policies and terms and conditions.

The City reserves the right to have any content restricted or removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy or any applicable federal, state or local law.  Any such removed content must be retained consistent with the Public Records Act, where applicable, and/or the City’s document retention policy, including the date, time and identify of the poster, when available.

D.   Comment And Response Policy

Many social media sites permit and invite posts and comments by site users.  By permitting use of this feature, the City does not intent to create a general public forum, and all comments and posts must comply with this policy.  The City’s Terms of Use, as set forth below, must be displayed on any City social media page or made available by hyperlink.

The City intends for its use of any social media to relate solely to matters of City business.  A comment or post by a member of the public on any City social media page is the opinion of the commenter or poster only and does not imply endorsement of, agreement with, or reflect the opinions or policies of the City.

The following posts or comments are inappropriate and are subject to removal or restriction by the City:

  • Profane, obscene, violent, or pornographic content and/or language;
  • Content that promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender,  national origin, sexual orientation or any other category protected by local, state or federal law;
  • Defamatory, derogatory or personal attacks on any City employee or official;
  • Threats to any person or organization or encouragement of illegal activity;
  • Information that tends to compromise the safety or security of City employees, the public, public systems or the City’s technology resources;
  • Content that violates any legal ownership interest, such as a copyright or trademark;
  • Content containing personal information such as home addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, dates of birth or driver’s license numbers;
  • Solicitation of commerce, including any advertising or business services or products for sale;
  • Content that violates any federal, state or local laws;
  • Comments in support of, opposition to, any political campaigns or ballot measures;
  • Comments not related to City posts, business, information, announcements, events or comments not related to the original topic, including random or unintelligible posts;
  • Comments or posts on topics or issues not within the jurisdictional purview of the City.

The above list is not necessarily exhaustive and the City reserves the right to remove or restrict any post or comment that violates the purpose or spirit of this policy.

Any employee authorized to post on the City’s social media pages shall use his or her best judgment in deciding whether or not to respond to a post or comment, and shall avoid engaging any user in an argumentative or offensive manner.  Any response by an authorized employee made on behalf of the City shall comply with all terms of this policy.  Content in any post or response made on behalf of the City shall not specifically refer to any City vendor, supplier, member, contractor, employee, or official without the approval of the City Manager.