Social media for Malta’s ministers has become considerably more regulated after a new set of guidelines were released detailing what they can and cannot publish on their personal profiles.
The move towards a more transparent approach to social media comes after Lovin Malta requested an investigation by the Standards Commissioner into the official procedure related to handling these pages.
These guidelines are a result of that investigation.
Hyzler wrote that official ministry social media channels should not include any content about the Minister’s political activities or include any expression of the Minister’s political views.
The channels should also not be allowed to publish any content relating to the Minister’s family or personal life. Public funds can be used when contracting third parties to administer and update the page, he explained.
When it comes to the Minister’s personal pages, Hyzler said that they cannot include any content that has been produced using either public funds or resources.
Public employees will also no longer be able to administer or update the personal pages of the Ministers, as they do now. No official logos should be used.
The Health Ministry is the only one among the wayward ministries to launch its official Facebook page since the publication of Hyzler’s report on 7th May.
A social media transition can be an arduous task, especially given the current COVID-19 crisis, so delays from other ministries are to be expected. However, some continue to walk on the edge.
On 9th May, Social Accommodation Minister Roderick Galdes used his personal page to publish his personal state-sponsored Mother’s Day message. The day before, Economy Minister Silvio Schembri published a ministerial video praising Malta as “the best country in the world”.
Both raise concerns as to whether they would follow the new guidelines. Both are on their personal profiles yet carry the ministerial logo and seem to be produced using public resources.
With millions in taxpayers’ money being paid to Facebook to produce posts on ministers’ profiles and ensure they reach as many people as possible, many hope that the move to more transparent social media use is quick.
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