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Tweeting at Telstra? Beware the “Guardrails”

Issued: May 01 2009
Australia telecommunications company Telstra has set forth guidelines governing its employees’ use of social networking websites such as Twitter and Facebook. The six pages of rules follow recent high-profile news reporting that Leslie Nassar, a Telstra employee, set up a Twitter account in the name of communications minister Stephen Conroy.

The guidelines direct employees using sites on Telstra business to disclose who they are, not discuss confidential information and treat other users with respect. Employees are required to complete training to update their “knowledge on emerging social trends and evolving best practice in social media.” The guidelines come with the threat of disciplinary action should they not be followed.

When employees are using social networking sites on a personal basis, they are instructed to identify themselves as Telstra employees when referring to the company and to not imply they are speaking in an official capacity.

“Use a permanent disclaimer if you are referring regularly to Telstra or Telstra-related issues,” the guidelines specify. “For irregular Telstra references, a disclaimer need only be used on a case-by-case basis. An example of a disclaimer is: ‘The views expressed in this post are mine only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.’”

Telstra said the company had been working on guidelines long before Nassar began tweeting in Conroy’s name, with posts such as, “Being a minister is so much better than being a fireman or astronaut. Suck it, childhood dreams!”


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