Health Research Board – Social Media Policy

About this policy

This policy is in place to minimise the risks to our organisation through use of social media.

This policy deals with the use of all forms of social media, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Wikipedia, Whisper, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr and all other social networking sites, internet postings and blogs. It applies to use of social media for business purposes as well as personal use that may affect our business in any way.

This policy covers all employees, officers, consultants, contractors, volunteers, interns, casual workers and agency workers ("Personnel").

This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.

The risks to our business that this policy addresses

In creating and implementing this policy, our business is attempting to address the following risks to our organisation:

  • Potential for claims from third parties for defamation, offensive or illegal content posted on social media by our Personnel.
  • Inadvertent or intentional disclosure of confidential information about the business or the confidential information or personal data of our Personnel, stakeholders, Grant Holders or research participants.
  • Infringement of third party intellectual property rights (for example posting an artist’s work without accreditation and without obtaining a licence for the commercial use of the work)
  • Security breaches.

Personnel responsible for implementing the policy  

Our Executive Team has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy, but has delegated day-to-day responsibility for its operation to the Director of Corporate Operations.

Responsibility for monitoring and reviewing the operation of this policy and making recommendations for change to minimise risks lies with the Executive Team who will review this policy on a yearly or as needed basis to ensure that it meets legal requirements and reflects best practice.

Managers have a specific responsibility for operating within the boundaries of this policy, ensuring that all staff understand the standards of behaviour expected of them and taking action when behaviour falls below its requirements.

All staff are responsible for the success of this policy and should ensure that they take the time to read and understand it. Any misuse of social media should be reported to the Head of the ICT Department and the Director of Corporate Operations. Questions regarding the content or application of this policy should be directed to the Head of the ICT Department.

Compliance with related policies and agreements  

Social media should never be used in a way that breaches any of our other policies. If an internet post would breach any of our policies in another forum, it will also breach them in an online forum. For example, you are prohibited from using social media to:

  • breach our ICT and Communications Systems Policy;
  • breach our obligations with respect to the rules of relevant regulatory bodies;
  • breach any obligations contained in those policies relating to confidentiality;
  • breach our Disciplinary Policy or procedures;
  • harass or bully other staff in any way OR breach our Anti-harassment and Bullying Policy;
  • unlawfully discriminate against other staff or third parties OR breach our Equal Opportunities Policy;
  • breach our Data Protection Policy (for example, never disclose personal information about a colleague online);
  • breach the privacy rights of our stakeholders or research participants; or
  • breach any other laws or regulatory requirements.

Staff should never provide references for other individuals on social or professional networking sites, as such references, positive and negative, can be attributed to the organisation and create legal liability for both the author of the reference and the organisation.

Staff who breach any of the above policies will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Personal use of social media  

The use of social media during working hours should be limited to the promotion of the HRB through such platforms

Organisational use

Our organisation’s social media accounts belong to us including any contacts or connections made through those accounts.

Extreme care must be taken when posting any information to our social media accounts to ensure that the content does not damage our brand or reputation.

The Head of ICT must always have access to social media accounts and you must facilitate the handover of any corporate social media accounts when you change role or leave the company.

All our social media accounts should have different passwords for security purposes.

Prohibited use  

You must not use social media to defame or disparage us, our staff or any third party; to harass, bully or unlawfully discriminate against staff or third parties; to make false or misleading statements; or to impersonate colleagues or third parties.

You must avoid making any social media communications that could damage our interests or reputation, even indirectly.

You must not express opinions on our behalf via social media, unless expressly authorised to do so by your manager. You may be required to undergo training in order to obtain such authorisation.

You must not post comments about sensitive work-related topics, such as our performance, or do anything to jeopardise our trade secrets, confidential information and intellectual property. You must not include our logos or other trademarks in any social media posting or in your profile on any social media.

Guidelines for responsible use of social media  

It should be made clear in social media postings, or in your personal profile, that you are speaking on your own behalf. Write in the first person and use a personal email address.

Be respectful to others when making any statement on social media and be aware that you are personally responsible for all communications which will be published on the internet for anyone to see.

If you disclose your affiliation with us on your profile or in any social media postings, you must state that your views do not represent those of your employer. You should also ensure that your profile and any content you post are consistent with the professional image you present to clients and colleagues.

If you are uncertain or concerned about the appropriateness of any statement or posting, refrain from posting it until you have discussed it with your manager.

If you see social media content that disparages or reflects poorly on us, you should report same immediately to the Head of ICT and the Director of Corporate Operations.


We reserve the right to monitor, without notice to you, intercept and review, without further notice, staff activities using our IT resources and communications systems, including but not limited to social media postings and activities, to ensure that our rules are being complied with and for legitimate business purposes and you consent to such monitoring by your use of such resources and systems.

For further information, please refer to our [IT and Communications Systems Policy].

Breach of this policy  

Breach of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Any member of staff suspected of committing a breach of this policy will be required to co-operate with our investigation, which may involve handing over relevant passwords and login details.

You may be required to remove any social media content that we consider to constitute a breach of this policy. Failure to comply with such a request may in itself result in disciplinary action.