Roche issues social media rules

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Roche released guidelines for company use of social media, saying that “social media's high speed, level of interactivity and global access to any information you publish merits particular consideration to the appropriate uses for these applications.”

The document, developed by an internal social media advisory board, urges employees to think about long-term goals before engaging in social media and to recognize that it's not a one-off proposition.

“Once you enter the dialogue, you will have to live up to the expectations of others regarding appropriate and knowledgeable responses, as well as commit to follow-up over a longer period of time.”

Roche distinguishes between speaking “about” and “on behalf of” the company, urging transparency in both guises and giving employees a seven-item checklist for each. When speaking “about” Roche, the guidelines say:

•   Be conscious about mixing your personal and business lives
•   You are responsible for your actions
•   Follow the Roche Group Code of Conduct
•   Mind the global audience
•   Be careful if talking about Roche. Only share publicly available information
•   Be transparent about your affiliation with Roche and that opinions raised are your own
•   Be a “scout” for sentiment and critical issues

For employees speaking “on behalf of” Roche in the capacity of an official spokesperson, the guidelines advise:

•   Follow the Roche Group Code of Conduct and Communications Policy
•   Follow approval processes for publications and communication
•   Mind copyrights and give credit to the owners
•   Use special care if talking about Roche products or financial data
•   Identify yourself as a representative of Roche
•   Monitor your relevant social media channels

•   Know and follow our record management practices

Sabine Kostevc, head of corporate Internet and social media at the company, said: "We did look at a number of publicly available guidelines for basics," such as those hosted here, "but created our guideline and presentation based on broad internal sourcing and review process."

Roche has gotten lots of positive feedback, from internal and external sources alike, since posting the guidelines, said Kostevc.

"People especially appreciate the clarity and the distinction between private and professional use."

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