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South Carolina Toughens Up on Social Media Rules for State Employees

Socially Strict 


Many establishments, not only in the US but across the world restrict social media usage during work hours, but usually this is enforced by in-house regulations rather than by law. In South Carolina, a new bill has been passed which will bar state employees from using work resources for ‘private business or financial gain’. The only exception to this rule comes when social media use is actually part an employee’s job, as is the case with PR workers. 

"The rule is really just meant to set the parameters for using state resources and non-state resources." - Holly Pisarik, Director of the S.C. Department of Labor 

This is a tad ironic, being that current governor Nikki Haley has implemented social media policies in the past, such as the #GoAndTell10People campaign, designed to spread awareness of positive events happening in the state. Haley is fairly active on Facebook as well, famously posting a link to Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’ on the first day of the legislative session. 


There’s no mention of exactly how employees will be disciplined for violating the ban, presumably it will up to employer discretion, but employees are only restricted from social media during active work hours. Meanwhile in Illinois, largely as a reaction cyber-bullying, a law has been passed requiring elementary and secondary school students to give up their account passwords for Facebook, Twitter or whatever else if they are suspected of violating any related rules. 

Similar tactics have been implemented before and in fact an almost identical bill was struck down in Albany County, New York because it was deemed unconstitutional. Social media as an entity opens up a lot of interesting questions with regards to regulation, in terms of what is acceptable and what encroaches on personal privacy. 

“Social media is so much a part of our daily lives, and to try to prohibit employees from using it, they’re going to be doing it anyway and that’s when problems come into play,” - Ashley T. Caldwell, The Modern Connection (source)

Recent cases involving people being fired over controversial Twitter activity testify to that. Codes of conduct in the workplace are running to catch up with the rapid expansion of social media and no ideal solution has yet been found, but an outright ban on work time usage certainly doesn't seem like the most progressive solution.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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South Carolina Toughens Up on Social Media Rules for State Employees Reviewed by Unknown on Monday, February 02, 2015 Rating: 5
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