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5 FAM 790} State Dept releases new regs on social media

We’ve heard about this new addition to the Foreign Affairs Manual last week, but the document did not show up in the people’s internet until yesterday.  So we’re just now posting below the new regulations on the use of social media for State Department folks. Sorry, not fresh from the oven, but here it is; now part of the 5 FAM 700 series on internet and intranet use available here:

Note that for FS spouses/partners, there is nothing in this new regs that addresses use of social media including blogging, except old 3 FAM 4125, Outside Employment and Activities by Spouses and Family Members Abroad and 3 FAM 4126, Outside Employment and Activities of Non-U.S. Citizen Employees and Locally-hired U.S. Citizen Employee. Both cited as part of the 27 authorities in 5 FAM 790. Nothing either about outside employment and activities by spouses and family members in the United States. Right.

5 FAM 792.2 Personal Use of Social Media
(CT:IM-110; 06-10-2010)

a. Department personnel may access and post entries to public, Internet-based social media sites, from OpenNet using their personal profile registered with a personal email address at those sites consistent with general policies on Internet use at 5 FAM 700. Personal entries must not:

(1) Claim to represent the Department or its policies, or those of the U.S. Government, or use Department or other U.S. Government seals or logos; and

(2) Violate ethics rules, for example, the rules prohibiting the use of public office for private gain or the disclosure of nonpublic information and the rules concerning prohibited political activity; details regarding these rules are on the L/Ethics Intranet Web site.

b. Department personnel who create and/or use nonofficial social media sites must adhere to the policies contained in 5 FAM 777 and 3 FAM 4170.

c. Department personnel who create and/or use nonofficial social media sites must not disclose information pertaining to procurement information in violation of 41 U.S.C. 423.

d. Department personnel who create and/or use non-official social media must not disclose nonpublic information, as that term is defined by 5 CFR d 2635.703(b).

e. Department personnel working abroad who create and/or use nonofficial social media cites must adhere to the policies contained in 3 FAM 4123.

f. Family members of Department personnel working abroad who create and/or use social media cites must adhere to the policies contained in 3 FAM 4125.

g. Non-U.S. citizen Department personnel and U.S. citizen Department personnel who have been hired abroad who create and/or use nonofficial social media cites must adhere to the policies contained in 3 FAM 4126.

h. For personal (nonbusiness) materials produced when using social media sites, see 5 FAH-4 H-215.6, Personal Papers, for guidance.

5 FAM 792.3 Official Use of Social Media

a. Department personnel may access and contribute content (both original entries and responses to entries) on social media sites in their official capacity. Department personnel should obtain supervisory approval prior to creating or contributing significant content to external social media sites or to engaging in recurring exchanges with the public.

b. Department personnel must inform the appropriate local or regional security representative of previously untested social media technologies they intend to access and of each new social media site and application that is registered in the IT assets baseline (ITAB) in accordance with 5 FAM 793.1, paragraph d.

c. To add content to social media sites, in an official capacity, personnel must use a site or email account created specifically for use in an official capacity that is separate from an account for private, personal use, except as noted in subparagraph d in this section.

d. Employees must adhere to the public information dissemination clearance requirements found in 3 FAM 4170 and 10 FAM 120 if the content is ―of official concern.

e. If personal site or email accounts must be used to post content at social media sites in an official capacity, for example because the social media site does not permit multiple profiles for a single account, personnel must be mindful of the security risks related to revealing personal information.

f. Supervisors may not compel personnel either to create a personal account or personal profile at any social media site or to post personal entries at any public site. Personnel enrolled in training programs that utilize social networking programs may be required to create a personal account for the duration of the training for the purpose of instruction. Personnel may retain or delete the account or profile at their sole discretion upon the end of the training program.

5 FAM 790 Internet and Intranet Use – Use of Social Media

5 FAM 700 Internet and Intranet Use

FAM  Regulations: May I Speak/Write/Teach Regs

  • 5 FAM 770 : Federal Websites
  • 5 FAM 777: Online Collaboration | (6) Employees, acting in their private capacity, may establish personal blogs, wikis, or any other collaborative forum; however, the provisions of 3 FAM 4172.1-3 must be followed. Any posting to a wiki or blog that contains information “of official concern” to the Department must be cleared through PA (for domestic employees) or Chief of Mission (for employees serving abroad), unless being referenced from existing publicly available information. No employee shall accept compensation from any source other than  the United States Government for writing that relates to the employee’s official duties. (7) As is the case with public Web sites (5 FAM 776.3), public online collaboration forums, whether official or personal, should not include discussions of internal Department policy, procedures, personally identifiable information about Department employees, financial information, etc. Additionally, public forums should not contain links to Department intranet sites.
  • 3 FAM 4170 | Official Clearance for Speaking, Writing, Teaching | (CT:PER-610; 06-09-2009) (Office of Origin: L/EMP)
  • “Social Media and the Conduct of Diplomacy” | This February 2009 cable is probably the most recent guidance outside of the Foreign Affairs Manual. However, because, we are presuming that this is an unclassified SBU (sensitive but unclassified) document, you have to hunt this down on your own (sorry I don’t have the cable number). No publicly available version is available. If you get this through an FOIA request, please share and we’ll link to it from here.

FAM Regulations: May I Work in Local Economy Regs

  • 3 FAM 4123 | Restrictions on Employment and Outside Activities
  • 3 FAM 4125 | Outside Employment and Activities by Spouses and Family Members Abroad (3 FAM 4125 b – states that a spouse or family should notify the Principal Administrative Officer at post before acceptance of intended outside employment)
  • 15 FAM 246.2 | Housing Abroad Policy: Using Residential Space – Businesses (governs the use of government housing for home-based businesses, allowing family members to work out of their USF-leased or owned properties). A “must read” if you are planning on working from home.