With the acquisition of Sun complete, Oracle distributed its social media policy to employees this week, and I was forwarded a copy. A version from six months ago can be found here. This is a nice, concise document that covers all the bases I can think of. It’s particularly useful in its approach to copyright and permissions. Perhaps it will help you in formulating your own policy. Chris Boudreaux has assembled an amazing database of 167 social media policies from businesses, government agencies and nonprofit organizations that you may also find useful. Employee names and e-mail addresses have been withheld and I’ve removed links to several documents that are available only behind Oracle’s firewall.
The Oracle Social Media Participation Policy applies to
- All blogs, wikis, forums, and social networks hosted or sponsored by Oracle
(e.g., blogs.oracle.com, wiki.oracle.com, mix.oracle.com, forums.oracle.com)
- Your personal blogs that contain postings about Oracle’s business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors
- Your postings about Oracle’s business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors on external blogs, wikis, discussion forums, micro-blogs
(e.g., Twitter, social networking sites)
- Your participation in any video related to Oracle’s business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors; whether you create a video to post or link to on your blog, you contribute content for a video, or you appear in a video created either by another Oracle employee or by a third party.
Since social media activities can impact your ability to do your job and Oracle’s business interests, it is extremely important to follow the requirements set forth below.
This section describes the requirements that are most relevant to Oracle employees participating in social media of various kinds (Oracle hosted and external).
Follow the Code
The Oracle Code of Ethics and Business Conduct and Oracle’s corporate policies – including the Acceptable Use Policy, Information Protection Policy, and Copyright Compliance Policy – apply to your online conduct (blogging or other online activities) just as much as they apply to your offline behavior. Make sure you’re familiar with them.
Make Sure Your Management Approves
Social media activities must not interfere with your work or productivity at Oracle, and your personal activities should take place outside of work. Your current management must approve your activities related to Oracle’s business. In addition, if you are VP-level or above, make sure to contact <name withheld> of Oracle‘s Corporate Communications team to discuss work related blogs. Please be aware that Oracle may choose to restrict social media activities that relate to your employment or Oracle’s business.
Don’t Misuse Oracle Resources
Don’t use company resources to set-up your own blogging environment, even if you are blogging about matters related to Oracle. Oracle resources, including servers, may be used solely in connection with formally authorized blogging environments that have been established following consultation with Global IT, Global Information Security, Legal, and Oracle Brand and Creative. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions regarding setting-up authorized blogging environments.
Protect Confidential Information
You may not use your blog, micro-blog or other social media to disclose Oracle’s confidential information. This includes nonpublic financial information such as future revenue, earnings, and other financial forecasts, and anything related to Oracle strategy, sales, products, policy, management, operating units, and potential acquisitions, that have not been made public.
Protecting the confidential information of our employees, customers, partners, and suppliers is also important. Do not mention them, including Oracle executives, in social media without their permission, and make sure you don’t disclose items such as sensitive personal information of others or details related to Oracle’s business with its customers. Third party social media services use servers that are outside of Oracle’s control and may pose a security risk. Don’t use these services to conduct internal Oracle business.
In addition, you may not publish (nor should you possess) our competitors’ proprietary or confidential information. You may make observations about competitors’ products and activities if your observations are accurate and based on publicly available information. Take care not to disparage or denigrate competitors.
Don’t Comment on Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Activity
You must not comment publicly on Oracle’s or our competitors’ M&A activity, including potential and pending acquisitions. This applies to potential acquisitions regardless of their status–in diligence, announced but not closed, integration plans for acquired companies, etc. Any commentary on what a transaction or potential transaction may mean to Oracle, positive, negative or neutral can be problematic.
Don’t Discuss Future Offerings
Don’t discuss product plans, upgrades or future product releases. Because of potential revenue recognition issues, it is especially important that we do not give the impression to customers or potential customers that a given product upgrade will include specific features that will be incorporated into the product within a specific time frame. See Revenue Recognition Guidelines. Any exceptions must be approved by senior management, Legal, and Revenue Recognition.
Refrain from Objectionable or Inflammatory Posts
Do not post anything that is false, misleading, obscene, defamatory, profane, discriminatory, libelous, threatening, harassing, abusive, hateful, or embarrassing to another person or entity. Make sure to respect others’ privacy. Third party Web sites and blogs that you link to must meet our standards of propriety. Be aware that false or defamatory statements or the publication of an individual’s private details could result in legal liability for Oracle and you.
Don’t Speak for Oracle
Remember that you are not an official spokesperson for Oracle. Make it clear that your opinions are your own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the corporation. See Policy Regarding Communications with Press and Analysts.
For this reason, Oracle employees with personal blogs that discuss Oracle’s business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors should include the following disclaimer in a visually prominent place on their blog:
The views expressed on this [blog; Web site] are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Oracle.
Similarly, if you appear in a video, you should preface your comments by making it clear that you are not an Oracle spokesperson and your opinion doesn’t necessarily reflect Oracle’s.
No Legal Commentary
Stay away from discussing items of a legal nature. For example, employees must not post comments related to legal documents such as Oracle’s software license agreements.
Don’t Post Anonymously
While you are not an official spokesperson, your status as an Oracle employee may still be relevant to the subject matter. You should identify yourself as an employee if failing to do so could be misleading to readers or viewers. Employees should not engage in covert advocacy for Oracle. Whenever you are blogging about Oracle-related topics or providing feedback relevant to Oracle to other blogs or forums, identify yourself as an Oracle employee.
You must recognize and respect others’ intellectual property rights, including copyrights. While certain limited use of third-party materials (for example, use of a short quotation that you are providing comment on) may not always require approval from the copyright owner, it is still advisable to get the owner’s permission whenever you use third-party materials. Never use more than a short excerpt from someone else’s work, and make sure to credit and, if possible, link to the original source.
Use Video Responsibly
Remember that you may be viewed as endorsing any Web video (whether hosted by YouTube or elsewhere) or other content you link to from your blog or posting, whether created by you, by other Oracle employees, or by third parties, and the Social Media Participation Policy applies to this content. Also, recognize that video is an area in which you need to be particularly sensitive to others’ copyright rights. You generally cannot include third party content such as film clips or songs in your video without obtaining the owner’s permission.
Stick to Oracle Topics on Oracle-Sponsored Blogs
Blogs that are hosted or run by Oracle should focus on topics that are related to Oracle’s business. Take care to avoid subject areas that are likely to be controversial, such as politics and religion.
Blogging Best Practices
A “New Media Handbook for Bloggers” is available as a separate document for employees interested in establishing a blog. Employees who want to start a blog on sites that are sponsored by Oracle need to read this document and submit a request as specified in the New Media Handbook for Bloggers.
While Oracle has no obligation to monitor your participation in social media activities related to Oracle’s business, products, employees, customers, partners, or competitors, we reserve the right to do so. We do count on our employees to help us make sure that the Social Media Participation Policy is being followed. Please report possible misconduct (copyright violations, harassment, misstatements, et al.) to the Oracle Compliance and Ethics Helplineor, for possible copyright violations, to email@example.com.