2017-08-11 / Front Page

Council votes on social media rules

City’s Facebook, YouTube websites addressed
By Cameron Kiszla


ON THE WEB—The Camarillo City Council recently voted on new rules for council members in regard to how they are allowed to use the city’s Facebook and YouTube pages. To comply with the state’s open meeting law, council members may share news and events but cannot like or comment on posts. ON THE WEB—The Camarillo City Council recently voted on new rules for council members in regard to how they are allowed to use the city’s Facebook and YouTube pages. To comply with the state’s open meeting law, council members may share news and events but cannot like or comment on posts. To comply with the state’s open meeting law, the Camarillo City Council agreed to a policy which prohibits council members from “liking” or commenting on social media posts on the city’s Facebook or YouTube pages. Council members may share news and events, according to the new city policy on use of social media.

The policy, which City Manager Dave Norman sent to council members on June 28, details that the city’s use of YouTube and Facebook is strictly intended to keep citizens up-to-date on current events. California’s open meeting law, the Ralph M. Brown Act, prevents officials from meeting to reach a consensus before issues are discussed publicly, so the social media policy specifically prevents personal views from being expressed on the city’s social media sites.

“The reason for this is because the city’s use of social media sites is to present factual information regarding the city’s policies, programs, meetings, events, services and current issues, rather than opinion and speculation,” Norman said in an email.

Norman also said the use of the “share” function is allowed because internet communication is an efficient way to keep constituents informed.

“Social media sites, like Facebook, can be an effective means of sharing information to a wider audience,” he said by email. “We encourage the sharing of the city’s Facebook posts.”

Vice Mayor Charlotte Craven, who sits on the committee that helped draft the policy, said the new rules allow Camarillo officials to keep its citizens up to date without adding personal thoughts on the issues or events.

“I think it’s a good opportunity to let people know what’s happening, and that’s why we opened the Facebook account,” she said.

That page, City of Camarillo Government, will accompany the YouTube channel The City of Camarillo, which shows City Council and planning committee meetings, as the social media destinations for anyone looking for information about the Camarillo government.

“I think the vast majority of our 65,000 residents don’t pick up and look at the agenda every Wednesday, so it’s an opportunity for them to see what was said, what was done and who said what,” Craven said, adding that because the council meetings can sometimes exceed the average attention span, the internet provides a better way for residents to watch the meetings.

“A lot of people don’t necessarily want to or can’t watch on Wednesday nights,” she said. “It might not be convenient, or maybe they just want to watch a part of it, not the whole bloody meeting.

“We went to 4 o’clock in the morning not too long ago, so maybe people don’t want to stay up that late.”

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