Social networking documents sets of internet platforms that facilitate shared societal experiences, both in-person and online. These platforms are beyond the passive sites that are governed by government and organization. Each of the internet platforms is designed for a particular need and in most cases, they are designed to inspire active participation by the members and the audience. For instance, Facebook allows users to design their profiles, update their statuses, post comments on the walls of a friend and personal pages. Twitter facilitates the connection of massive numbers of people and can post short information referred to as tweets. These and among others are influential platforms in the community.
The development of social media application in the government institutions has an effect not only to the government employees who utilize social media but also the ever-increasing general public who are hungry and itchy for information, expects the state and federal government to utilize these technologies in disseminating information effectively and creates a forum for comments or public opinions. In datum, the social media platforms offer the public sector a wealthy opportunity in communicating with the community, interested shareholders on new proposals and ideas. Moreover, the platforms can be used by any person who has an interest in public sector participation or decision making inclusive of advocates, developers, government entities, non-profit agencies, among others. Nevertheless, there are merits in using these new technologies, which include public participation and greater transparency, which must be weighed counter to the inherent drawbacks such as accuracy of the information posted, source of information, truthfulness as well as longevity of erroneous information in cyberspace (Tappendorf & Glink, 2013).
Deletion of posted information in the public sector is controversial and requires technical advisory and regulations in order to allow truthfulness and integrity in the public service officials. Individuals in the public sector are allowed to delete social media posted messages, if the message fake news or hate speech that is aimed to cause harm. If the information lies beyond the organization’s jurisdiction and may cause harm to the public, then the officials can delete such a message in order to mitigate the uncertain risk. Besides, speech on social media that is directly associated with violence, for instance, terrorism, can be deleted by the public officials in order to reduce the impact on the community. The government, on the other hand, regulates such contentions, nevertheless more expansive efforts may be unconstitutional. However, the power of the person in the public sector should be limited in order to enable governance, protection, integrity and obligation to be met by the public officials (Sobacı. & Hatipoğlu., 2018). For instance, a particular region may be faced with wildfires and one of the public citizens’ posts the current situation on social media. One of the public officials infiltrated with racial discrimination ascertains that the affected populations are their rivalries; thus, he or she decides to delete the message. This will cause devastating impacts as the message should have been acted by the emergency agencies to assist and save the citizens. Thus, one should consult legal counsel before deletion of any comments from social media (Wernz, 2012).
With the increase of fraud, embezzlements of funds, lack of integrity with the public officials who have been entrusted by the public to manage the government funds, the deletion authority should be scrutinized in order to execute such power effectively. Most of the scandals discovered and the public officials reprimanded are due to community posts giving information on the current situation. For instance, the government may release funds for the construction of a health facility, but due to corrupt leaders, the construction of the facility is not done. The public should raise this kind of issue in order to ascertain the integrity of our leaders, fraud, among others (Transparency International, 2012).
Social media usage can implicate a range of legal issues; these may include privacy laws, defamation, workplace harassment and discrimination, among others. There should be security and privacy regulation on all social media for the organization in order to mitigate potential cyber risks which harm the reputation of the organization. Defamatory statements are illegal in accordance with the Communications Decency Act, which safeguards the ISPs, social media sites and defamed plaintiffs should bring their claims against the responsible entity or person. Work-related conversation in social media is protected by federal law, the National Labor Relations Act. The act safeguards the rights of the staff personnel to act together and address any prevailing working conditions that may violate personal privacy and individuals’ rights (Justia, 2019).
Justia. (2019). Law on Social Media Policies at Work. Retrieved 29 October 2019, from www.justia.com/employment/hiring-employment-contracts/privacy-in-employment/social-media-policies/
Sobacı., M., & Hatipoğlu., I. (2018). Sub-National Democracy and Politics Through Social Media. Cham, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
Tappendorf, J., & Glink, A. (2013). Social Media & Governments – Legal & Ethical Issues. Retrieved from www.in.gov/ig/files/Julie_Tappendorf.pdf
Transparency International. (2012). Calling out public officials on corruption: Codes of conduct. Retrieved 29 October 2019, from www.transparency.org/news/feature/calling_out_public_officials_on_corruption_codes_of_conduct
Wernz, J. (2012). Public Entity Deletes Comments From Facebook Page: The Right Choice?. Retrieved 29 October 2019, from www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/public-entity-deletes-comments-from-face-46395/