Fears Stoke-on-Trent City Council's Twitter guidelines will 'silence' opposition
A TWEETING councillor has hit out at the council's 'draconian' social media rulebook.
Abi Brown, Conservative member for Meir Park, is concerned that Stoke-on-Trent City Council's new social media policy effectively bans her from using Twitter to discuss any of her work as a councillor.
The Sentinel reported last week that the council was introducing the policy in an attempt to avoid embarrassing outbursts from members on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
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But concerns have been raised about a clause which orders members to avoid mentioning 'customers' – council jargon for residents – without written permission.
Mrs Brown, left, who has used Twitter for more than three years, said: "Having been through the policy, it does seem draconian.
"It is really quite scary that after several years of using social media without getting into trouble whatsoever, the council suddenly owns my accounts.
"Saying we can't talk about customers means I can't even say that I've been contacted about an issue.
"I welcome members being given some guidance but for somebody in opposition like me, it's going to basically mean they can stop me from saying anything."
Further guidance in the policy advises members to think twice about discussing 'controversial' topics – including politics.
The authority says the social networking policy is 'responsible housekeeping'.
'Advice worth following – but why did it take so long': Page 10