Social Media Policy

1. Purpose

This policy establishes the Sedgwick County Strategic Communications Department (“Strategic Communications”) as the managing entity for all County social platforms and provides guidance on management, administration, and oversight of the County’s social media platforms.     

2. Scope

This policy applies to all Sedgwick County Divisions and Departments with the exception of elected officials.

3. Policy Statement

This policy has been established to address the rapidly evolving landscape of the Internet and the way constituents communicate and obtain information online. The County wishes to enhance the traditional methods of communication with constituents by using social media across several platforms to connect with a broader audience. The County encourages the use of social media to further the goals of citizen engagement and education where appropriate.

4. Definitions

A. Social Media – Internet-based applications and websites used to share and discuss information. Social media describes the integration of technology, telecommunications, and social interaction via text, image, video, and audio content types. Examples include: forums, blogs, wikis, social communication sites, social bookmarking, message boards, newsgroups, podcasts, photo sharing, video, real time web communication, and any similar communication form.

B. Social Media Coordinator - An employee of the Strategic Communications Department who manages the social media profiles across Sedgwick County and is responsible for providing content to be posted on the department or dedicated County social media profile(s). This individual is responsible for ensuring all comments and posts are in accordance with set laws and policies.

C. Communication Liaisons - Employees within County departments who have been charged with the responsibility of providing the Social Media Coordinator with content to post to the various County social media accounts.

D. Commenter - An individual who consumes content on a social media profile and makes remarks regarding that content.

E. Comment - A statement or question made by an individual who has consumed content on a social media profile.

F. Hashtags - Special keywords used to highlight posts; these keywords do not include punctuation marks or spaces and should begin with a # symbol.

G. Terms of Service - Policies on social media websites that govern how the site can be used by members.

5. Procedures

A. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The Sedgwick County Strategic Communications Department (“Strategic Communications”) is the managing entity for all County social platforms. The department acts as a resource and partner in managing social mediums, helping staff to ensure that a high level of quality is achieved and expectations of residents exceeded on social platforms. The County Manager is the final authority on use of all County-owned social media platforms, with the exception of social media platforms owned by elected officials.
  2. Strategic Communications shall monitor all social platforms owned by Sedgwick County (other than those owned by elected officials) for comments, reviews, shares, and other channel-specific reactions. Sedgwick County has seven (7) social media profiles, which are managed by Strategic Communications. Each profile will link to Sedgwick County’s official website.
  3. The seven (7) approved social media networks are:
    1. Facebook: Sedgwick County Government and Sedgwick County Fire District 1
    2. Twitter: @SedgwickCounty
    3. Employee Twitter: @SedgEmployee
    4. YouTube: Sedgwick County Government
    5. Flickr: Sedgwick County Government
    6. LinkedIn: Sedgwick County Government
    7. Instagram: @sedgwickcountyks

B. Sedgwick County Branding

  1. Social media platforms will clearly identify the account as representing Sedgwick County. The profile image will properly represent the organization, prominently display County’s contact information and website, be readily recognizable, and adhere to County branding guidelines. County departments, employee organizations, and/or individual employees shall not use the County’s profile image on any social media account without written permission from the Sedgwick County Strategic Communications Department.

C. Site Monitoring

  1. Sedgwick County social media platforms will be monitored by Strategic Communications regularly, and prompt corrective action will be taken to remove content that does not comply with this policy.
  2. Strategic Communications will review site activity and content daily and monitor comments that violate the Social Media Commenting Section below.

D. Commenting

  1. Rules for commenting will be made available on Sedgwick County social media platforms.
  2. The purpose of this page is to present matters of public interest for Sedgwick County government. We encourage you to submit your questions, comments, and concerns, but please note that this is a moderated page and not an open public forum.
  3. The public is welcome to share opinions and feedback on social media platforms managed by the county. Public comments expressed on Sedgwick County social media platforms do not reflect the opinions or positions of Sedgwick County, its officers, or its employees. Persons posting comments give the County the express right to reproduce, use, and distribute the content of their comments. Please be aware that these sites are limited public forums and moderated by county staff. To best facilitate online conversation, please keep your comments to the topic at-hand.
  4. Users understand and agree that unless specifically identified as a resource for receiving requests for information under the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA), County social media platforms are not proper vehicles for making requests for public information or public records under state law and any such requests must be made to the appropriate custodian of the records.
  5. User-generated posts or comments/hashtags may be deleted or temporarily hidden (we use Facebook-provided content moderation/filtering options to hide profanity) and later deleted by county staff if content:
    1. Contains obscene, profane, threatening, or harassing language, pictures, GIFs and/or videos;
    2. Contains sexually explicit images, cartoons, jokes, or links to sexual content;
    3. Contains personal attacks, hate speech, or offensive comments that advocate unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, genetic information, or other circumstance prohibited by federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation, including Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA);
    4. Constitutes sexual harassment;
    5. Contains commercial messages, including advertisements, endorsements, solicitations, and spam;
    6. Promotes or endorses political campaigns, candidates for election to a political office, or ballot measures;
    7. Contains suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity;
    8. Contains information that may compromise the safety or security of the public, public systems, the county, its employees, or public officials;
    9. Contains defamatory (i.e. slanderous, libelous) remarks, personal attacks, or threats against any individual person or group of people;
    10. Violates a legal ownership interest of any other party, such as trademark or copyright infringement;
    11. Makes or publishes false, vicious, or malicious statements concerning any county employee;
    12. Openly advocates for violence or the threat of violence to themselves or others or sharing about illegal activity (these types of comments will be reported to the appropriate authorities);
    13. Discloses confidential or proprietary information or personally identifiable information, such as an address, phone number, social security number, or other sensitive information; or
    14. Contains multiple successive off-topic posts by a single user or repetitive posts copied and pasted by multiple users, or spam.
  6. Social media creates an environment where others share, connect, and seek public services. This environment must be balanced with protecting confidentiality and compliance with County policies, state and federal laws.
  7. Sedgwick County retains full editorial control over all content of its social media platforms and, when possible, will edit, hide, or delete material if deemed by the County or its representatives to be in violation of any County policy, procedure, state, or federal law.
  8. Sedgwick County reserves the right to hide submissions that violate the provisions listed in the bullet points of Section 5.D.5.
  9. Visitor comments expressed on this page do not reflect the opinions and positions of Sedgwick County or employees. If you have any questions concerning the operation of this page, please contact us at

E. Posting in an Official Capacity

  1. Strategic Communications posting to social media platforms on behalf of Sedgwick County will focus messaging on the County’s broad interests, specific programmatic interests, and policy interests. County social media platforms will not contain any political information or be used for political activity. Strategic Communications is prohibited from exchanging any form of material that is:
    1. Prohibited by federal, state, or local law; or County policies, specifically including this policy, Human Resources’ policies, and Information Security Department's policies;
    2. Threatening, obscene, vulgar, offensive, abusive, derogatory, discriminatory, disparaging, defamatory, harassing or that which constitutes personal attacks of any kind;
    3. Involving sales, solicitation, or facilitates any for-profit non-County business activity, including the sale of personal goods and services or any charitable fundraising campaigns that are not sanctioned by the County;
    4. Used for any political advocacy efforts or any non-County activity that would cause the County to incur any liability.
  2. Sharing or posting content that is owned by others or copyrighted shall be performed in accordance with copyright, fair-use and established laws pertaining to materials owned by others. This includes, but is not limited to, quotes, images, documents, links, etc.
  3. Strategic Communications must control the use of usernames and passwords associated with social media platforms, ensuring that ownership remains with Sedgwick County and is not restricted to any one person. Strategic Communications must immediately change usernames and/or passwords if an employee previously authorized to post on social media platforms for Sedgwick County leaves employment or is otherwise no longer authorized to post for Sedgwick County.
  4. Strategic Communications will:
    1. Use all reasonable efforts to keep social media interactions factual and accurate, providing only verifiable facts;
    2. Strive for transparency and openness and never seek to use information for personal gain
    3. Provide links to credible sources of information when possible to support interactions
    4. Wherever possible, links to more information should direct users back to Sedgwick County’s official website for more information, forms, documents, or online services;
    5. Publicly correct any information communicated that is later found to be in error;
    6. Be honest about relationships, opinions, and identity;
    7. Protect privacy and not share confidential or non-public information;
    8. Respect the public’s opinion, whether positive or negative, provided it is topical and not offensive, denigrating or completely out of context.

F. Related References:

  1. Security: Sedgwick County information should not be made available on the public internet without appropriate authorization. Information placed on the internet should have legitimate business purpose and the prior approval of a relevant department head or their designee or Strategic Communications. To comply with certain financial disclosure regulations, any financial information or comments regarding financial performance must receive prior approval from the Director of Finance.
  2. Terms of Service: Strategic Communications should be aware of the Terms of Service (TOS) of the particular form of media they are using. Each form of social media has its own unique TOS regulating how users interact. Any Strategic Communications employee using a form of social media on behalf of a County department or agency should consult the most current TOS to avoid violations. If the TOS contradicts County policy, contact the Web Services Manager and a decision will be made about whether use of such media is appropriate.