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Babylon Village, Town tighten rules on social media

Babylon Town hall in Lindenhurst, July 9, 2017.

Babylon Town hall in Lindenhurst, July 9, 2017. Credit: Steve Pfost

TOSOCIAL0719 - The Town and Village of Babylon recently formalized policies barring employees from disclosing town or village matters on social media, and the village has contracted town employees to run its new Facebook page.

The town board adopted the social media policy at a July 12 meeting. It prohibits employees from disclosing “town related business . . . on social media platforms during work or personal hours unless explicitly authorized.”

It also threatens disciplinary action against employees who violate the rules, “including termination from work duties.”

Town Attorney Joseph Wilson said the town moved to adopt the protocol following the suspension of a public works employee in June after he allegedly posted derogatory comments on Facebook about a video featuring a Muslim teenager in Lindenhurst.

“Racial, ethnic, sexual, religious and physical disability slurs are not tolerated,” the new policy reads.

The village’s “restrictions and guidelines” are modeled on the town’s, but also include the warning that “Facebook will be monitored for all postings regarding the Village of Babylon.”

Additionally, as of June, the village will pay the town $15,000 for 12 months beginning in June for town spokesman Kevin Bonner and Brendan Cunningham, another town communications staffer, to upload photos and text to the village’s Facebook page, among other tasks, Bonner said. The majority of the content is supplied by village trustee Mary Adams, Bonner added.

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