CBEC Warns – No Social Media Posting On Official Matters

News article on CBEC warning its officials from no Social Media posting on official matters and is it effective.

no social media
Central Beauro of Excise and Customs
Image Courtesy: newswala.com

Social Media is a double-edged sword and brands, organizations, etc. should be aware of this fact. But if you believe that by simply not being present on social media, will be a safe tactic then I would say, please think again. Today even if you are not on social media, you are still being talked about so it’s better to learn how to tackle with it otherwise you would be in an awkward situation that Central Board Of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is facing now. According to Hindustan Times, CBEC has issued a warning in a strongly written letter to all it’s chief commissioners and director generals that it should restrain its officials from posting viewpoints on official matters, on social networks such as Facebook, etc.

The letter which was sent across also has some examples explaining why there is the need for such restrains. One such example was of a recent incident where some personal views were posted on a Supreme Court’s judgment on April 30, 2012, on a special leave petition filed by the CBEC. Not only was the matter discussed on social networking site but also created controversy over seniority issues. Besides this, the letter also had some other examples to highlight the severity of the issue.

Incidents like this do not surprise me anymore. Some time back the Indian army had also put a complete ban on its officials from using any social networking sites after it had found it to be a serious threat. On the other hand, the US army is not only using social media effectively but has given ample amount of access to its officials. So what is the missing piece that is stopping our government officials to use social media effectively?

Failure in understanding why organizations and government bodies need a Social Media Policy is what’s missing. Today brands and government bodies need to think of creating a constructive social media policy, simultaneously making the employees aware of it and educating them is also a need. Most of the time an employee is not aware and thinks that it is fine to discuss about his or her employer as long as it is his/her social space. Fair enough, it is your social space but you are talking about a brand which might not be acceptable to the brand.  So the need of the hour is not only to have a social media policy but also to educate staff in order to implement the policy.

In the case of CBEC it would have been great that rather than issuing a strong letter, it could have thought of constructing social media guidelines. It is not an easy job to stop people on social media to talk against a particular brand or body but it’s always easy to educate employees about both sides of social media.

Do you think government bodies should have a social media policy or should they just put a blanket ban on the access of social networking sites? I think they are looking for a quick fix rather than drilling down to the root cause.

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