DAOD 2008-8, Official Use of Social Media
Table of Contents
Date of Issue: 2018-09-18
Application: This DAOD is a directive that applies to employees of the Department of National Defence (DND employees) and an order that applies to officers and non-commissioned members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF members).
Approval Authority: Assistant Deputy Minister (Public Affairs) (ADM(PA))
Enquiries: Director E-Communications (DECOMM)
In social media, a reaction to a post or message on a social network.
Note – A social network provides a feed for main entries and comments. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 694934)
official use of social media (utilisation officielle des médias sociaux)
A use of an official social media account by a social media practitioner on behalf of the DND, the CAF or both. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 694935)
personal use of social media (utilisation personnelle des médias sociaux)
A use of a personal social media account for a purpose unrelated to professional development or employment. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 694936)
professional use of social media (utilisation professionnelle des médias sociaux)
A use of a personal social media account for a purpose relating to professional development or employment, including communication with a professional association, professional networking (e.g. participating in an online conference), knowledge gathering and sharing (e.g. using Twitter to stay up-to-date on trends or visiting government Facebook pages) or career development (e.g. maintaining a LinkedIn profile). (Defence Terminology Bank record number 694937)
social media (médias sociaux)
A set of web-based tools and services that permit participants with distinct user profiles to create, share and interact with user-generated content, including text, images, videos and audio. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 693846)
social media practitioner (praticien des médias sociaux)
A DND employee or CAF member who is authorized by an appropriate superior to use and manage an official social media account and post content to it. (Defence Terminology Bank record number 694938)
3.1 The purpose of this DAOD is to provide direction to DND employees and CAF members, particularly level one advisors (L1s), commanders of commands and formations, commanding officers, managers, social media practitioners and public affairs (PA) staff, who use and manage official social media accounts (OSMAs) in an official capacity to communicate with external and internal audiences on issues at the local, regional, national and international levels.
Note – This DAOD does not apply to either the personal use of social media or the professional use of social media by DND employees and CAF members.
3.2 The communications landscape has dramatically changed with the global adoption of information and communication technologies. Today, audiences increasingly look to new media, namely the Web and social media, for information, resources and entertainment purposes. This digital revolution has changed the way people expect to obtain information and, consequently, has shifted the way organizations communicate and interact with their audiences.
3.3 Social media technologies are a diverse and growing group of internet-based applications that allow users to create and exchange content. Information technology (IT) is constantly evolving to provide new social media platforms. Current social media platforms include:
- blogs and microblogs (e.g. Medium, Tumblr, Twitter and WordPress);
- content communities (e.g. Flickr, Google Photos, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube);
- games (e.g. augmented reality games and massively multiplayer online role-playing games);
- internet discussion forums (e.g. feedback on news stories and hobby Web sites);
- livecast tools (e.g. Blab, Facebook Live, Meerkat and Periscope);
- messenger applications (e.g. Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, Skype, Snapchat, Telegram and WhatsApp);
- online dating Web sites (e.g. eHarmony, Match.com, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, Spark.com, Tinder and Zoosk);
- podcast hosting sites (e.g. Audible Inc., Google Play Music and iTunes);
- social networks (e.g. Facebook, GCconnex, Google+, LinkedIn and Ning); and
- wikis (e.g. GCpedia, Wikia and Wikipedia).
3.4 Social media is constantly evolving. Accordingly, ADM(PA) E-Communications provides social media practitioners and other DND employees and CAF members with ongoing standard operating procedures, best practices, lessons learned and guidance in response to social media developments and issues. See the ADM(PA) Social Media intranet site for additional information on the use of social media.
3.5 The Treasury Board (TB) Directive on the Management of Communications provides that heads of communications are responsible for “using digital media and platforms as the primary means to connect and interact with the public while continuing to offer multiple communications channels to meet the diverse information needs of the public.” ADM(PA) is the head of communications for the DND and the CAF.
3.6 The DND and the CAF integrate social media in all aspects of operations and other activities to achieve a variety of objectives, including:
- increasing the awareness of DND and CAF priorities;
- strengthening the relationship between Canadians and the DND and the CAF;
- providing timely and accurate content on emerging issues;
- informing and responding quickly and effectively during crises;
- maintaining a strong, dynamic and ever-growing presence to promote positive brand experience for the DND and the CAF;
- driving user traffic to DND and CAF Web content;
- promoting the attraction of new audiences to various careers; and
leveraging insights gained through social media monitoring and analysis.
3.7 DND employees and CAF members using OSMAs must be aware of their security responsibilities and remain vigilant. See the National Defence Security Orders and Directives, Chapter 17, Security and Social Media, for detailed information on security responsibilities in respect of the use of OSMAs.
3.8 The unique position of trust held by the CAF in Canadian society makes CAF members, particularly senior officers, vulnerable to predatory action by adversarial or criminal elements, who may seek to use social media to impersonate or appropriate their personal image and identity for nefarious purposes.
3.9 CAF members must consult the Canadian Joint Operations Command Directives on International Operations (CDIO) 14000 Series, Use of Social Media, for direction, guidance and information on the effective and safe use of OSMAs while deployed on operations and exercises in and outside Canada.
Social Media Practitioners
3.10 Before an appropriate superior authorizes a DND employee or CAF member to act as a social media practitioner, the superior must consult with their PA staff.
3.11 Social media practitioners must seek advice from Public Affairs Officers (PAOs) and civilian communications officers on the use and management of OSMAs. Section 6 sets out detailed responsibilities for social media practitioners.
3.12 A DND employee or CAF member who is authorized to act as a social media practitioner must, without delay, complete the online training course Social Media Primer, offered by the Defence Public Affairs Learning Centre.
Role of PA Staff
3.13 An OSMA in respect of a formation, unit or mission should be managed by PA staff on behalf of the responsible commander or commanding officer. Other DND employees and CAF members may be involved in producing content and monitoring the OSMA, but the overall coordination and responsibility should rest with PA staff.
3.14 All content posted to an OSMA must respect the principles of professionalism, transparency, inclusiveness, respectfulness and accountability. Abiding by the letter and spirit of these principles will help ensure that the use of OSMAs by the DND and the CAF meets the standard of trust and confidence that is expected by Canadians.
3.15 Official public communications on OSMAs must be consistent, controlled and carefully coordinated to maintain the credibility of the DND and the CAF. Official public communications have the highest level of risk, which is why a higher degree of management and coordination is required.
3.16 Consequently, it is the intention of the DND and the CAF not to operate any more OSMAs than are absolutely necessary. This will mitigate a lack of cohesiveness in messaging across divided audiences that results in communications that could be misinterpreted, leading to a loss of credibility, trust and confidence in the DND and the CAF.
Consultation with PA Staff
4.1 Before requesting the creation of an OSMA, an L1, commander of a command or formation, commanding officer or manager, or their representative, must consult with their PA staff, and one or more social media practitioners must be identified for the use and management of the OSMA.
Request for Creation of an OSMA
4.2 To request the creation of an OSMA, a social media practitioner must complete a Social Media Account Request Form and send it to ADM(PA) E-Communications. See the ADM(PA) Social Media intranet site for additional information on OSMA requests.
Note – Some L1 organizations may have internal OSMA request and approval processes that must be completed before submitting the request to ADM(PA) E-Communications.
4.3 An OSMA for DND and CAF use must be approved by ADM(PA) and registered with ADM(PA) E-Communications.
Registration of OSMA with Service Canada
4.4 In order to ensure that the approved OSMA will be included in the Government of Canada (GC) master index of social media accounts, the social media practitioner who requested the OSMA must complete and submit an Official GC Social Media Account Submission Form in order to register the OSMA with Service Canada.
4.5 It is prohibited for any DND employee or CAF member to use or manage an OSMA that is not approved by ADM(PA).
Life Cycle Management
4.6 Social media practitioners must oversee the life cycle of their OSMAs, including planning, creation, configuration, implementation, management and deactivation when no longer in use or required. Recordkeeping requirements are set out in DAOD 6001-1, Recordkeeping.
Use and Management of OSMAs
4.7 L1s and commanders of commands must ensure that the OSMAs in respect of their organizations:
- are evaluated using GC social media analytics and official Web analytics tools in order to optimize the effectiveness of their content;
- comply with the TB Mandatory Procedures for Social Media and Web Communications;
- are configured according to the TB Technical Specifications for Social Media Accounts; and
are used and managed only by social media practitioners.
Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA)
4.8 A PIA is a policy process that identifies and mitigates the privacy risks of activities and services that involve personal information by assessing how personal information will be protected throughout its life cycle. The PIA must be completed in a manner that is commensurate with the level of privacy risk identified prior to establishing any new or substantially modified program or activity involving personal information.
4.9 ADM(PA) E-Communications must develop and maintain a PIA for any new social media platform or any new use of social media for an OSMA. See DAOD 1002-5, Privacy Impact Assessments, for detailed information on the completion of PIAs.
4.10 Consistent with the Official Languages Act, an OSMA and all its content must offer either a bilingual interface or equal English and French versions. This includes:
- actively encouraging participation in both official languages;
- encouraging users to contribute in the official language of their choice;
- ensuring that terms and conditions for DND and CAF social media platforms and disclaimers are available in both official languages;
- ensuring that, if using two separate single-language OSMAs, both OSMAs have equal status and that equivalent content is posted in both official languages;
- ensuring that, if using only one bilingual OSMA, content is posted in both official languages in accordance with GC standards and guidelines;
- actively looking for sources that release information in both official languages when disseminating third-party information; and
planning ahead for translation at key milestones to ensure equality of content in both official languages.
4.11 Social media succeeds because it is interactive. Audiences expect the social media accounts of organizations to be responsive, timely and interactive. Social media practitioners are encouraged to engage directly with users, following the appropriate subject matter review and chain of command approvals within their respective organizations.
4.12 Moderating comments on OSMAs is an important part of user engagement. Without this moderation, OSMAs will lose their credibility. Social media practitioners must contact ADM(PA) E-Communications for detailed instructions and guidance in respect of their moderation of user comments on OSMAs.
4.13 Due to the open nature of social media, social media practitioners should be prepared to have authentic interactions that are credible, objective and impartial.
4.14 The GC expects participants to act appropriately on social media platforms. Terms and conditions for DND and CAF social media platforms must be developed to encourage the appropriate management of acceptable user content, including expected behaviours for participants and consequences for non-compliance.
Note – OSMAs may link to the DND and the CAF terms and conditions. The TB Global Notices for Government of Canada Departments sample can also be used to develop custom terms and conditions.
4.15 Inappropriate comments are a part of social media. However, if inappropriate comments that do not comply with the terms and conditions are left in place, they can result in additional inappropriate comments, causing discussions to spiral off topic and credibility to be lost if the users feel that the OSMA is not being moderated.
4.16 During business hours, social media practitioners must regularly monitor the OSMAs for which they are responsible. OSMAs should be monitored afterhours when possible. Social media practitioners must interject when inappropriate comments are posted by referring users to the terms and conditions for the OSMA, removing inappropriate comments and implementing appropriate consequences.
4.17 L1s, commanders, commanding officers and managers are responsible for the content that is posted by social media practitioners on their OSMAs.
4.18 As the head of communications, ADM(PA) is accountable for all DND and CAF advertising activities. This includes promoting, boosting and sponsoring content on all social media platforms.
4.19 It is prohibited for any DND employee or CAF member to use public funds to promote, boost or sponsor content on social media platforms without having first consulted with the Director Marketing and Advertising and having received the approval of ADM(PA).
Note – Any use of non-public funds for promoting, boosting or sponsoring content on social media platforms is subject to applicable legal and policy requirements for the use of non-public funds.
Evaluation and Measurement
4.20 Social media practitioners must conduct ongoing evaluation of the OSMAs for which they are responsible in order to:
- measure and evaluate to what extent the use of OSMAs is meeting expected outcomes and providing business value;
- ensure that the use of OSMAs is reaching the desired target audiences;
- evaluate compliance with GC and legislative requirements, and DND and CAF DAOD, policies, instructions, directives, standards and guidance;
- improve content; and
update training for the use and management of OSMAs.
5.1 DND employees and CAF members must comply with this DAOD. Should clarification of the policies or instructions set out in this DAOD be required, DND employees and CAF members may seek direction through their channel of communication or chain of command, as appropriate. Managers and military supervisors have the primary responsibility for and means of ensuring the compliance of their DND employees and CAF members with this DAOD.
Consequences of Non-compliance
5.2 DND employees and CAF members are accountable to their respective managers and military supervisors for any failure to comply with the direction set out in this DAOD. Non-compliance with this DAOD may have consequences for both the DND and the CAF as institutions, and for DND employees and CAF members as individuals. Suspected non-compliance may be investigated. Managers and military supervisors must take or direct appropriate corrective measures if non-compliance with this DAOD has consequences for the DND or the CAF. The decision of an L1 or other senior official to take action or to intervene in a case of non-compliance, other than in respect of a decision under the Code of Service Discipline regarding a CAF member, will depend on the degree of risk based on the impact and likelihood of an adverse outcome resulting from the non-compliance and other circumstances of the case.
5.3 The nature and severity of the consequences resulting from non-compliance, including any unauthorized or inappropriate use of an OSMA, should be commensurate with the circumstances of the non-compliance and other relevant circumstances. Consequences of non-compliance may include one or more of the following:
- the ordering of the completion of appropriate learning, training or professional development;
- the entering of observations in individual performance evaluations;
- increased reporting and performance monitoring;
- the withdrawal of any authority provided under this DAOD to a DND employee or CAF member;
- the reporting of suspected offences to responsible law enforcement agencies;
- the application of specific consequences as set out in applicable laws, codes of conduct, and DND and CAF policies and instructions;
- other administrative action, including the imposition of disciplinary measures, for a DND employee;
- other administrative or disciplinary action, or both, for a CAF member; and
- the imposition of liability on the part of Her Majesty in right of Canada, DND employees and CAF members.
Note – In respect of the compliance of DND employees, see the TB Framework for the Management of Compliance for additional information.
5.4 ADM(PA) may direct the deactivation of:
- any social media account used for official DND and CAF purposes that has not been approved by ADM(PA); or
- any approved OSMA that is not used or managed in accordance with this DAOD, or does not comply with GC or legislative requirements, or DND or CAF policies, instructions, directives, standards or guidance.
5.5 A contractor who is authorized to use a DND or CAF IT system may be subject to contract termination or criminal charges in the case of any unauthorized or inappropriate use of an OSMA.
6.1 The following table identifies the responsibilities associated with this DAOD:
|The …||is or are responsible for …|
|Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management)||
|L1s and commanders of commands||
|formation, unit and other element commanders and commanding officers, and managers||
|Director Access to Information and Privacy||
|social media practitioners||
Acts, Regulations, Central Agency Policies and Policy DAOD
- Access to Information Act
- Financial Administration Act
- Official Languages Act
- Privacy Act
- Security of Information Act
- QR&O article 19.14, Improper Comments
- QR&O article 19.36, Disclosure of Information or Opinion
- QR&O article 19.37, Permission to Communicate Information
- QR&O article 19.375, Communications to News Agencies
- Framework for the Management of Compliance, Treasury Board
- Policy on Acceptable Network and Device Use, Treasury Board
- Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, Treasury Board
- Directive on Privacy Impact Assessment, Treasury Board
- Directive on Privacy Practices, Treasury Board
- Directive on the Management of Communications, Treasury Board
- Standard on Privacy and Web Analytics, Treasury Board
- Technical Specifications for Social Media Accounts, Treasury Board
- Guideline on Acceptable Network and Device Use, Treasury Board
- Global Notices for Government of Canada Departments, Treasury Board
- Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector, Treasury Board
DAOD 2008-0, Public Affairs Policy
- DAOD 1002-4, Privacy Incident Management (in draft)
- DAOD 1002-5, Privacy Impact Assessments (in draft)
- DAOD 2006-0, Defence Security
- DAOD 2008-2, Media Relations and Public Announcements
- DAOD 6001-1, Recordkeeping
- DAOD 6002-2, Acceptable Use of the Internet, Defence Intranet, Computers and Other Information Technology Systems
- DAOD 6002-7, Internal Use of Social Media Technologies
- DAOD 7023-0, Defence Ethics
- CANFORGEN 136/06, Guidance on Blogs and Other Internet Communications – CF Operations and Activities
- National Defence Security Orders and Directives
- CDIO 14000 Series, Use of Social Media (available in English only)
- Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces Code of Values and Ethics
- Cyber Security Risks of Using Social Media – Guidance for the Government of Canada, Communications Security Establishment
- Official GC Social Media Account Submission Form
- Social Media Account Request Form
- Terms and conditions for social media
- Social Media Account Management Resources GCpedia Web site
- ADM(PA) Social Media intranet site
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