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Social Networking Guide | Facebook
Facebook: What is it?

Facebook is a global, privately-owned social networking Web site. Users may add friends and send messages. They may also update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves, their companies or their agencies. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, region and other criteria.
In 2011, Facebook agreed, in negotiations with the National Association for Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), to modify its terms of service so state and local governments can more easily utilize the popular social networking site. Facebook has modified the provisions of its terms and conditions to:
  • Strike the indemnity clause except to the extent indemnity is allowed by a state's constitution or law.
  • Strike the language requiring that legal disputes be venued in California courts and adjudicated under California law.
  • Require that a public agency include language directing consumers to its official Web site prominently on any Facebook page; and
  • Encourage amicable resolution between public entities and Facebook over any disputes.
Oregon DOJ's opinion is that Oregon can reasonably accept the Facebook revised Terms of Service.

What can I do with it?

As with many other social media tools, you begin by signing on and creating your profile. You can list a number of facts about yourself (or your agency) and post a picture. You can list your agency’s Web site and blog address.
Once you are on, you can search for friends and ask people to be your friend on Facebook. When you send that invitation, the recipient may accept, deny or ignore it. Those who accept will appear on your friends list. You can also search out causes you support. If someone has a “cause page” on Facebook, you can link to it, and the page will display on your profile. You can send invitations to others to join the cause. You can link to another organization’s page as a fan, and it will display on your page. You can invite others to link as fans as well. On all the pages, you can post comments or links. You can post a note on a friend’s page (writing on his “wall,” which makes it visible to any friend), or you can send direct notes back and forth, one to one. A status bar displays your current comment or activity. People can link to videos or articles.


  • Consider the following factors before starting your Facebook account:
    • How many Facebook pages should your agency open?
    • How often will the page(s) be updated?
    • Facebook users share personal information (profiles, pictures, etc.) with each other. What does this mean to your agency?
    • Permanency of pages (deleted pages never really go away).
  • Maintain a look of professionalism on Facebook, even though the site provides a casual atmosphere. Feel free to use a casual candid shot for your picture, instead of the professional portrait.
  • Put all your links on Facebook: Web site, e-mail, LinkedIn, blog address, etc. People do look at profiles and do explore on Facebook.
  • Monitor your Facebook friends. You will often receive requests to become friends from people you don’t know. Check them out before becoming friends, and remember that they do show up on your list.
  • You can post pictures on your Facebook pages and others can view them. You do have a risk here; people can post pictures of you and label them, although you can remove the label.
  • Do check your pages periodically and update your status. When you do, everyone on your friends list gets a notice at their page as to what you’ve done—posted a new status, changed your picture, posted an article, etc. Keep track of your friends’ postings and changes.
  • Explore causes and organizations and invite friends to join them.
  • Facebook gives you the opportunity to find lost friends, maintain contact, and receive updates.
  • Facebook Guidelines
Click on the following for more State guidelines.