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D.C. Fire and EMS is among the first city government agencies to restrict employees’ social media posts.
The new policy intends to limit publishing of inappropriate, confidential or privileged information online, according to DCFEMS. That includes discriminatory remarks, harassment, retaliation, sexual innuendo, threats of violence or similarly unlawful content. Such posts could result in disciplinary, including termination.
The policy prohibits sharing information obtained through employment with the department or posting any material that could be seen as malicious, obscene or bullying.
When referring to their employment, members of the department must specify that their views are their own and not those of the department or government.
The D.C. fire department unveiled a new highly restrictive social media policy Monday that bans department employees from taking photos or video of fire or accident scenes while on the job and from transmitting such images to the media or other organizations.
The policy could also put the kibosh on the firefighter union’s Twitter account, which provides details about the department’s responses to the scenes of violent crimes, fires and accidents.
Union President Edward Smith said he hopes the new policy doesn’t mean the end of the union’s Twitter account, which began posting details about the department’s responses after the agency’s Twitter account went dark. Both accounts now regularly post about department activity.
“I don’t know how it affects the union’s Twitter account, which I think has been appropriate,” Mr. Smith said, adding he plans to check with the union’s legal team and the American Civil Liberties Union over the legality of the policy. “I think that’s been a great tool. I think the public deserves to know.”