Legislation, Policies and Standards
City of Seattle Facebook Standard
Facebook is a social networking site. Businesses and governments have joined individuals in using Facebook to promote activities, programs, projects and events. This standard is designed for City departments looking to drive traffic to department Web sites at seattle.gov and to inform more people about City activities. These standards should be used in conjunction with the City's blogging policy, social media use policy and video posting policy. As Facebook changes these standards may be updated as needed.
When a department determines it has a business need for a Facebook account, it will submit a request to the Mayor's communication director via the Citywide Web Team. Once approved, the DoIT Citywide Web Team will create the boilerplate business page for the department. Applications are not to be added to a city Facebook site without approval by the DoIT Citywide Web Team. All city provided branding images must meet city branding standards.
- Type of 'pages'
- The City will create 'pages' in Facebook not 'groups.' Facebook 'pages' offer distinct advantages including greater visibility, customization and measurability. Community pages will currently be accepted as is unless there is a copyright/trademark issue.
- For 'type' description, choose 'government.'
- The DoIT Citywide Web Team will standardize and provide the Facebook page's image, consisting of a picture and the City's logo.
- Departments will include a mission introduction on the Wall Page and send users first to the Wall to connect them to the freshest content. Boilerplate policy text regarding public disclosure and comments will be created using the FBML static page application. A City boilerplate sentence should follow the department/program description:
(Insert department) is a department of the City of Seattle, www.seattle.gov. This site is intended to serve as a mechanism for communication between the public and [department] on the listed topics. Any comments submitted to this page and its list of fans are public records subject to disclosure pursuant to RCW 42.56. Public disclosure requests must be directed to the (insert department) public disclosure officer.
- If comments are turned on, the Wall page should include a link to a Comment Policy tab with the following disclaimer:
Comments posted to this page will be monitored. Under the City of Seattle blogging policy, the City reserves the right to remove inappropriate comments including those that have obscene language or sexual content, threaten or defame any person or organization, violate the legal ownership interest of another party, support or oppose political candidates or ballot propositions, promote illegal activity, promote commercial services or products or are not topically related to the particular posting.
- Link to the City
- A link to www.seattle.gov will be included on the Info page.
- City department and project pages should be page favorites of other City Facebook pages.
- Page naming
- Page name should be descriptive of the department.
- Departments will choose carefully with consideration for abbreviations, slang iterations, etc.
- The DoIT Citywide Web Team will approve proposed names.
- Page administrators
- A successful page requires "babysitting." The department public information officer (PIO) is responsible for monitoring the Facebook page. Posts should be approved by the PIO or a designated alternate.
- The department PIO is responsible for making sure content is not stale. Department will designate a back-up administrator in PIO's absence.
- Comments and Discussion Boards
- Comments to the Wall generally will be turned off but may be allowed on a case-by-case basis with request from the department and approval from the Mayor's communication director via the DoIT Citywide Web Team . Discussion Boards should be turned off.
- City Facebook pages will be based on a template that includes consistent City branding. The DoIT Citywide Web Team will provide departments with the template.
- Departments will use proper grammar and standard AP style, avoiding jargon and abbreviations. Facebook is more casual than most other communication tools but still represents the City at all times.
- There are thousands of Facebook applications. Common applications can allow users to stream video and music, post photos, and view and subscribe to RSS feeds. While some may be useful to the page's mission, they can cause clutter and security risks.
- An application should not be used unless it serves a business purpose, adds to the user experience, comes from a trusted source and is approved by the DoIT Citywide Web Team.
- An application may be removed at any time if there is significant reason to think it is causing a security breach or spreading viruses.
- Each Facebook page will be set up in conjunction with a DoIT Citywide Web Team designated City e-mail account.
- Content that cannot be retrieved from Facebook via the API and needs to be retained as a record needs to be printed and maintained according to the City records retention policy.
Bill Schrier, Chief Technology Officer, City of Seattle
October 2, 2009