Pictured: From right to left, VDH attorney Nick Dominello, VDH attorney Caroline Thibeault, Easton Town Administrator Connor Read, and Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson.
VDH attorneys Nick Dominello and Caroline Thibeault discussed the complex issues that arise when municipalities use social media at the 2018 annual conference of the Massachusetts Municipal Association. The panel was moderated by Julie Jacobson, the Town Manager of Auburn, Massachusetts and also included a presentation by Connor Read, the Town Administrator of Easton, Massachusetts.
The panel discussion covered topics including employee social media use, best practices for operating municipal social media accounts, and compliance with the public records law, state ethics laws, and open meeting law. Nick and Caroline offered practical tips such as encouraging those who operate municipal social media accounts to seek “verification” of their accounts from the social media platforms.
Many of the approximately 75 attendees asked challenging questions about operating and monitoring municipal social media accounts, ranging from how to avoid illegal deliberation online, to monitoring public commenting without running afoul of the first amendment. The discussion highlighted the difficulty in applying long-established legal rules to the dynamic and developing world of social media. We encourage you to reach out to any of the attorneys on our team if you have questions about operating your own municipal social media accounts. We would be happy to assist you.