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New policy guides city's social media accounts

The City of Lawton has its first formal policy guiding the use of all of its social media accounts.

The City Council policy, adopted by the council last week, applies to those who administer City of Lawton digital sites, as well as those who post comments on them. While the policy includes general practices, it also sets specific prohibitions for users, including personal attacks, the use of profanity and postings that promote discrimination.

Tiffany Vrska, city community relations director, said the policy includes basic guidelines intended to provide a user-friendly environment for citizens. She said the policy would apply to any city staff member who administers an official City of Lawton site and those employees were directed last week to begin administering the policy as soon as possible. She said most of the provisions cited in the policy have been followed in an unofficial manner, but the council's adoption of a policy ensure consistent guidelines are in place.

Vrska, who drafted the policy, said while city pages have received some spam and unwarranted comments in recent months, the policy was adopted to allow the city to be proactive.

"My aim in developing this policy was to have an official ground to stand on  approved by our governing body, upon the advice of our city attorney  in administering rules of civility through official City of Lawton pages," she said.

She said she developed the policy after researching the policies used by other municipalities for their social media accounts, and with the help of the Lawton City Attorney's Office. She based the work on a policy she helped create when updating the social media and internet usage policy used by Lawton Public Schools. The policy will apply to all official City of Lawton pages, including the city's official Facebook site (Lawton Oklahoma, City Government), as well as any other social media page maintained by city staff on behalf of the city and its departments.

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