SOCIAL MEDIA & DIGITAL PROPERTIES POLICY
City of Charlestown Office of Communications & Multimedia
Leah Farris-Lowe, Director | Mickey Weber, City Attorney | Dr. Treva Hodges, Mayor
304 Main Cross Charlestown IN. 47111 | 812-256-3422 | Media@CityofCharlestown.com
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
The City of Charlestown recognizes that social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, have become mainstream forms of communication among residents, media outlets, government agencies, businesses and others. Using this technology, the City has embraced additional avenues by which to share news releases, inform the public of projects, initiatives and general city service information, and highlight events and positive media coverage. Additionally, social media provides the ability to share other information that supports the goals and mission of the City. Social media also provides a two-way means by which to interact with residents, visitors, media, local business owners and people who work in the City. It is important that our social media interactions are managed securely, pass technical audit, conform to or exceed best practices, and maintain state record keeping compliance.
LIMITED PUBLIC FORUMS
A strong, healthy democracy requires that people can engage with their government and participate fully in civic discourse. People have an increasing amount of opportunities to interact with the City of Charlestown online, and the City encourages posted content and commentary on our interactive digital platforms. While we encourage citizen interaction, open dialogue and will make every attempt to respond to any inquiry or communication - the City's online services and sites are limited public forums and are moderated by City staff. This policy describes the terms and conditions under which posted content and commentary may be moderated.
This policy applies to all digital properties, online services and sites hosted, managed, or administered by the City of Charlestown. This includes social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, as well as blogs, websites, discussion forums, other emerging social media platforms, and any platforms that accept posted content and commentary in the form of comments, links, replies, or reactions (likes, follows, retweets, shares).
The following will be prohibited when interacting with the City and/or representatives of, or citizens via City of Charlestown social media, blogs, and other online forums:
Potentially libelous comments
Accusing or disparaging another individual by business or name
Profane language or content
Content that promotes, fosters or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation
Obscene or racist comments
Sexual content or links to sexual content
Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity
Personal attacks, harassment, insults or threatening language
Comments not meaningfully related to the particular topic presented
Repetitive posts of the same material that disrupt normal operation of the forum
Hyperlinks to material not directly related to the discussion
Information or misinformation that may compromise the safety or security of the public, public health, or public systems
Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party
Postings of, or requests for, other participants' personal information, such as phone number, address, financial accounts, etc.
Impersonation of someone else or use of fictitious accounts, anonymous posting
Commercial messages, including advertisements and solicitations and spam
Support for or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures
Posts, comments, replies, or any public commentary containing any of the above may be deleted. Multiple violations may result in the restriction of your ability to interact with the City of Charlestown on social media, blogs, or other online forums. Meaningful, respectful engagement is encouraged – please remember that you are speaking with your neighbors, and that those managing accounts on behalf of the City are your neighbors as well. The City of Charlestown reserves the right to close commenting or discussion on social media posts or other online forums when necessary. Our ability to monitor various channels may fluctuate based on volume and staffing, or in the event that discussion becomes uncivil or multiple violations of this policy consume the dialogue and lead to an excessive need for monitoring of the thread.
The City is not responsible or liable for any inappropriate content which is not removed in a timely manner outside of normal business hours, as these channels are not monitored 24-7. Every attempt will be made to be watchful and address these issues as quickly as possible.
Comments posted by members of the public are the opinions of those individuals, and use of the "like" or comment feature between the City of Charlestown and a private person or entity does not indicate the City’s endorsement of that person or entity’s actions or comments. As always, use caution clicking external links; the City does not guarantee their authenticity or security. Links to potentially harmful content will be deleted but please remember that these channels are not always continuously monitored.
ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS WITH CITY GOVERNMENT
The City of Charlestown’s social media channels are a limited public forum for communication about City news, services and programs between the community and the City. These channels are not monitored 24/7.
Whenever possible, our Communications team will work to answer your questions via social media or other platforms in a timely manner. Please understand that the City can make no guarantee of availability via these platforms and particularly so outside of normal business hours, on evenings or weekends and holidays. If we’re online, we’ll make every attempt to be responsive within reason. We work to monitor and respond throughout the day, but for immediate service please contact City Hall directly by phone at 812-256-3422, or email to CityHall@CityofCharlestown.com.
Do not use City social media channels to report an emergency or a crime. Dial 911 for emergencies.
The Charlestown Police Department social media platforms are not monitored for emergency communications and are for informational purposes only. For non-emergencies or business requiring communication with the Charlestown Police Department or local responders please note the following contact information:
Non-Emergency Administrative Phones: 812-256-6345
Dispatch Non-Emergency Phone Line: 812-246-6996
Anonymous Crime Tip-Line: 812-256-CHPD (2473)
Records Division Phone Line: 812-256-7136
Clark County Dispatch Non-Emergency: 812-246-0357
Charlestown Fire Department Non-Emergency: 812-256-6202
PRIVATE COMMUNITY PUBLIC FORUMS
Though there are various local online forums focused on our community which are managed by private citizens, we encourage you to contact the City of Charlestown directly with any inquiries related to city services and programs, business, or public matters. The City of Charlestown may on occasion utilize these informal forums to share information regarding City business, programs or events – however these threads are not always monitored, and inquiries should be directed to the original post or an official City of Charlestown social media platform. Many residents find these forums a convenient place to post questions, but this can often lead to politically-charged rhetoric or misinformation. The City of Charlestown is committed to the practice of open and transparent communications and we’re here to help. Ask us first, via messenger, post to one of our pages, by phone to 812-256-3422, or by email to CityHall@cityofcharlestown.com.
PUBLIC MEETING LIVE VIDEO STREAMS – LIMITED PUBLIC FORUM
As often as possible and barring any occasional technical or staffing-related issues, the City of Charlestown is committed to ensuring that citizens are able to access public meetings online both live and in archive. While livestreams across various platforms may allow for commenting during the stream and archived videos may present opportunities to comment - the City of Charlestown, City Council, and all various boards and commissions are unable to accept public comment in real time or in response to livestream productions or video archives. The City of Charlestown reserves the right to disable comment if necessary, during livestreams. Any interaction via these formats must also comply to the aforementioned posted content and commentary standards. Formal public comment may be made in person at the meetings, and during this time of COVID-19 provisions are also in place for inclusion via email and Zoom. Please contact the Mayor’s Office at 812-256-3422 for more information.
The City of Charlestown is committed to progressing toward total accessibility regarding ADA and language barriers over the next several years. Whenever possible closed-captioning will be available or added later to the final video of any production. A summary of any public meeting, or audio recording is available upon request by email to CityHallAdmin@CityofCharlestown.com. A new City of Charlestown website is under development with considerations for accommodating both disability and cultural differences, and continual improvement in these areas. If you have a specific need or request, please do not hesitate to reach out by email to Media@CityofCharlestown.com.
We respect the privacy of your identity; however, persons making threats or using offensive language may be reported to the appropriate authorities. Additionally, please understand that all posted content and commentary are potentially public record, and subject to public disclosure under the Public Records Act.
This policy will be regularly reviewed and updated. Inquiries or questions may be submitted for review by the Communications & Media Director and City Attorney via email to Media@CityofCharlestown.com.
A PDF version of the City of Charlestown Social Media and Digital Properties Policy is available here.