Social Media Policy


To address the fast-changing landscape of the Internet and the way residents and businesses communicate and obtain information about the City of Lake Elsinore ("City") online, the City's departments may consider using social media tools to reach a broader audience and increase citizen engagement. The City encourages the use of social media to further the goals of the City and its departments, where appropriate, through dissemination of information about the City's mission, meetings, activities and current issues to members of the public.

The City has an overriding interest and expectation in deciding what is "announced" or "spoken" on behalf of the City on social media sites. The purpose of this policy is to set forth the City's policies and procedures regulating the City's presence on social media websites and regulating employees who are responsible for maintaining the City's presence on social media websites. This policy does not govern or regulate the use of social media sites by City employees or the privacy rights associated therewith.

"Social media" and "Web 2.0" are terms used interchangeably to refer to activities that integrate technology, social interaction and content creation. This media allows people to generate, organize, share, edit and comment on web content. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Blogs, Really Simple Syndication ("RSS"), LinkedIn, and Flickr.

The goals of City of Lake Elsinore social media sites are to:

  • Increase the public's knowledge, trust, and use of City services
  • Promote the value and importance of City services among and between governing officials, civic leaders, and the general public
  • Maintain open, professional and responsive communication with members of the public and the news media


All social media communications composed, sent, or received on City equipment are the property of the City. While the social media sites are administered by the City, the content on the sites is not entirely controlled by the City. The City does not endorse any links or advertisements on its social media sites placed by the site owners or their vendors or partners.

General Policy

  1. All of the City's social media sites that are created by departments will be subject to approval by the City Manager or designee. All City of Lake Elsinore social media sites shall be administered by the City of Lake Elsinore Information Technology Division ("IT") staff.
  2. City social media sites should make clear that they are maintained by the City of Lake Elsinore and that they follow the City's Social Media Policy.
  3. The most appropriate uses of social media tools are as informational channels to increase the City's ability to broadcast its messages to the widest possible audience.
  4. The City's website ( will remain the City's primary and predominant internet presence.
  5. Wherever possible, content posted to the City's social media sites must first be made available on the City's website by the department's website content manager.
  6. Wherever possible, content posted to the City's social media sites must contain hyperlinks directing users back to the City's official website for in-depth information, forms, documents or online services necessary to conduct business with the City of Lake Elsinore.
  7. Social media will not be the primary tool used for disseminating emergency information.

    The City's PEG Channels, Time Warner Channel 29 and Verizon FIOS Channel 31, will remain the primary source of that information. Emergency information may be released on social media sites, but not before release on City's PEG Channels or other emergency information systems.
  8. The Public Information Officer or designee will monitor content on City social media sites to ensure adherence to both the City's Social Media Policy and the interest and goals of the City of Lake Elsinore.
  9. Wherever possible, the City's social media sites must comply with all appropriate City of Lake Elsinore policies and procedures, including but not limited to: 
    1. Internet, Electronic Mail and Software Policy. 
    2. City Information Technology (IT) security policies and guidelines. 
    3. City of Lake Elsinore anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.
    Any exceptions will be approved by the City Manager or designee dependent on the policy. Any exceptions must be in writing.
  10. All employees who utilize social media concerning the City shall also comply with this policy. This includes social media use on and off City-compensated time. Therefore, employees utilizing social media on their own time, but on topics concerning the City, are expected to comply with this policy.
  11. Employees are not to access social media sites on City time for any purpose not work-related. Employees with business reasons to access social media sites or use social media tools must have their Department Head send an email to the Information Technology Supervisor and the City Manager authorizing such access so that network security can be modified to allow access.
  12. The City's social media sites are subject to California's civil discovery statutes and the California Public Records Act. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to City business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication (with certain exceptions), is a public record. The Department maintaining the site is responsible for responding to any public records request for public records on social media; provided, however, such requests must be handled in collaboration with the City Clerk's Office and the City Attorney's Office. Content related to City business must be maintained in an accessible format and so that it can be produced in response to a request. Wherever possible, such sites must clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or submitted for posting may be or are subject to public disclosure upon request.
  13. California law and relevant City records retention schedules apply to social media formats and social media content. Unless otherwise addressed in a specific social media standards document, the department maintaining a site must preserve records required to be maintained pursuant to an applicable records retention schedule for the required retention period in a format that preserves the integrity of the original record and is easily accessible.
  14. City social media sites shall be managed consistent with the Brown Act. Members of the City Council and City advisory bodies should refrain from responding to any published postings, or from using the site to respond to, blog, engage in serial meetings, or otherwise discuss, deliberate, or express opinions on any issue within the subject matter jurisdiction of the body.

Comment Policy

  1. Users and visitors to the City's social media sites must be notified that the intended purpose of the site is to serve as a means of communication between City departments and members of the public. All comments posted to the City's social media sites will be monitored. The City's social media site articles, posts and comments containing any of the following forms of content will not be allowed and must be removed as soon as possible:
    1. Profane language or content;
    2. 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, sexual orientation or any other basis protected by state or federal law;
    3. Sexual content or links to sexual content;
    4. Solicitations of commerce and other pure commercial speech;
    5. Conduct or encouragement of illegal activity;
    6. Comments in support of or opposition to political campaigns or ballot measures;
    7. Information that may compromise the safety or security of the public or public systems or employees;
    8. Content that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party.
  2. Users and visitors to the City's social media sites must also be notified that:
    1. A comment posted by a member of the public on any City of Lake Elsinore social media site is the opinion of the commentator or poster only, and the publication of a comment does not imply endorsement of, or agreement by, the City of Lake Elsinore, nor do such comments necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the City of Lake Elsinore.
    2. The City reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed in violation of this policy or any applicable law. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the City of Lake Elsinore is not obligated to take such actions, and the City disclaims any and all responsibility and liability for any materials that the City deems inappropriate for posting, which cannot be removed in an expeditious and otherwise timely manner.
    3. By posting a comment, users agree to indemnify the City of Lake Elsinore, its officers and employees from and against all liabilities, judgments, damages, and costs (including attorney's fees) incurred by any of them which arise out of or are related to content posted by users. If a user does not agree to these terms, the individual should not use the City of Lake Elsinore's social media sites as a violation of these terms may lead to legal liability.
    4. The City neither guarantees the authenticity, accuracy, appropriateness nor security of external links, websites or content linked thereto.
  3. The above comment guidelines and disclaimers ("Terms of Use") must be displayed to users or made available by hyperlink. Any content removed based on these guidelines must be retained, including the time, date and identity of the poster in accordance with the City's policy on the retention of such information.
  4. When a City of Lake Elsinore employee responds to a comment, in his/her capacity as a City of Lake Elsinore employee, the employee's name and title should be made available, and the employee shall not share personal information about himself or herself, or other City employees.

History Adopted 12/13/11