Social media acceptable use policy

Our social media platforms are here to provide information and advice to our residents, and we welcome comments and engagement with our content.

We understand that people have differing views on many issues, however any form of cyber-bullying is not acceptable on any platform.

While we will actively monitor our platforms, if you do notice any offensive comments on our sites at any time, please send us a private message and let us know.

We’ll take immediate action on our accounts if content in any format (such as comments, videos, images, GIFs, attachments, links, emojis) is:

  • defamatory, slanderous, misleading or false
  • abusive or threatening – this includes swearing, adapted spellings with the same meaning, etc
  • intimidatory towards our staff, elected members or other platform users
  • inciting hate crime or hate crime words
  • obscene, profane or sexually oriented
  • discriminatory in any way
  • promoting illegal activity
  • promoting individual products or services
  • completely off topic
  • the same message posted multiple times, otherwise known as 'spamming'
  • controversial, irrelevant and off topic, otherwise known as 'trolling' 

Action

If your content relates to the list above, we may hide or delete it.

We’ll respond publicly to your content and via direct message asking you to remove it immediately.

If you do not take action, we may block your access to our social media accounts. We’ll tell you that we’re doing this.

Depending on the content, we will also screenshot the posts and consider legal action or sending them on to the police for investigation.

If we think that the content you post is explicit, we will take immediate action to delete the post and block your access to our accounts.

Hate crime

A hate crime or incident is any offence perceived by the victim or any other person, whether a witness, friend or family member, as being motivated by prejudice or hate. A hate incident becomes a hate crime when the offence breaks the law.

Reasons for the crime can be based on:

  • Race, ethnicity or nationality
  • Religion, faith or belief
  • Sexual orientation
  • Disability and learning difficulties
  • Transgender identity
  • Gender based hostility
  • Individual characteristic that makes someone appear different, eg alternative lifestyle, culture, physical appearance

Hate and harassment can take the form of criminal or non-criminal behaviour and can include offensive comments or images on social media or text messages.

Allegations against council staff and elected members

We have a zero-tolerance approach toward fraud and corruption in our organisation. If you make an allegation on our social media accounts against the council, a member of staff or an elected member, we’ll ask you to report it (along with your evidence) to Northamptonshire Police, or you can tell us directly.

Safeguarding allegations or disclosures

We recommend you don’t make any safeguarding allegations or disclosures on our social media accounts unless you are direct messaging us. If you do, these will be passed onto the relevant organisations as part of our duty of care. It is better to raise these concerns directly to us via our children and adult social care services.

Dealing with misinformation or harmful content

We aim to share information on our social media channels that is accurate and useful. However, we must be alert to the possibility that our posts may be used as a means of spreading misinformation to residents, if you do notice such comments on our sites at any time, please send us a private message and let us know.

For example, this might include posting false information or links to conspiracy theories in comments on our posts about topics such as the coronavirus pandemic or vaccinations. This could indirectly cause harm to others by discouraging people from taking vaccines.

Comments, links or other content posted on any of our channels with the intent of spreading misleading or false information will be removed and the author banned from that channel. If the author wishes to challenge their ban, they should contact the council’s Communications Team.

Complaints

We understand that sometimes you can be unhappy with something we have or have not done, and you just want us to deliver a service to you (such as empty your bin) or to tell us about something (such as where there’s a pothole). You don’t have to use our complaints procedure to do this - you can complete one of our online forms.

Pre-election period

The council itself, as opposed to its political administration, must be politically neutral in its communications. Therefore, please do not use any of our pages to promote party political messages or other content.

Whatever type of election, if you post anything which could be interpreted as supporting a party or candidate during the pre-election period, we may have to delete it.

Our approach to connections on social media

The council may choose to 'follow', 'like' or otherwise establish connections with other organisations and individuals using social media. This is so that the council can maintain contact with what other social media users are saying and, where appropriate, share their content. Sometimes we also need to establish a connection so that we can engage with users, eg via direct messages or posting. This is an emerging area of communications and as such the council will review and amend its practice continuously.

Endorsement

The council does not implicitly or explicitly endorse any individual or organisation merely by virtue of creating a social media connection, regardless of the terms used by social media providers such as 'follow' or 'like'. Indeed, the council will maintain social media connections with organisations that are critical of it and/or have opposing views. Nor does the council hold any responsibility for the content of such profiles.

Social media monitoring programme

Our social media pages are monitored between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. We will also monitor the pages for coverage during critical and major incidents, adverse weather and events.

We will not be able to respond to questions or complaints outside of these hours, even if we are posting from our accounts. If you require support outside of office hours, and your needs are urgent, please contact us by phone.

Why information is on a different website
We are in the process of adding information to this new unitary council website. Some pages will give you a link back to a previous council website to help you find what you need. Read more about the changes.