Social Media Do's and Don'ts at USA

Company Policy A-33, Basic 02/05/10


It has been the long standing policy of United Space Alliance (USA) and its subsidiaries to keep the public informed about company plans, programs, and accomplishments. With the evolution of social media tools and platforms, USA employees have access to participate directly in the free and open discussion of company, industry, and national issues. However, in doing so, employees must understand that their actions can have very real consequences for themselves, the company, and USA's customers.

The purpose of this document is to provide guidance and policy to employees with regard to creating or contributing to blogs, wikis, social networks, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media platform. These guidelines are designed to provide helpful, practical advice and to protect USA employees, the company, and USA's customers. Accordingly, these guidelines are a reflection of USA's standard way of doing business and are based on good common sense for Internet usage. As technologies continue to evolve, these guidelines also need to change. When in doubt, employees are encouraged to seek additional advice from their managers or from Communications and Public Relations (C&PR).


Social Media (Other associated terms are Web 2.0, New Media, Social Networking) - Social Media is the term commonly applied to various interactive Web-based platforms and tools that encourage and facilitate the creation and distribution of information and content generated by the user community. Types of social media platforms include online media sites; blogs; microblogs, such as Twitter; social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn; virtual worlds, such as Second Life; photo and video sharing sites, such as YouTube and Flickr; social bookmarking sites, such as Delicious and Digg; and wiki sites, such as Wikipedia.

Social Media Activities - The general term "social media activities" refers to the posting, creating, contributing, or forwarding of any comments, content, or status updates to any social media platform, including blogs, wikis, social networks, microblogs, virtual worlds, or any other kind of social media.


a. Guidelines for responsible engagement

1. Know and follow USA's Business Code of Conduct. (See also CP-A-02, Ethics and Business Conduct, and FPP-C-01-01, Ethics and Business Conduct).

2. Know and comply with USA policies regarding time charging and use of company equipment (see Section 3). Also know and comply with any and all restrictions for the use of customer-provided equipment and in customer facilities.

3. USA employees are personally responsible for the content they publish on blogs, social networks, wikis, or any other form of user-generated media. Use common sense and discretion to protect privacy and personal security.

4. Show proper consideration for others' privacy.

5. In online social networks, the lines between public and private and personal and professional can be blurred, so honesty and openness are critical. When commenting on matters relating to USA or the space industry, employees should disclose that they have a vested interest in the issue and, when necessary, appropriate, or relevant, state their role at USA. Unless the employee is an official company spokesperson, he/she should always clearly indicate that he/she is speaking for himself/herself and not on behalf of USA, but be mindful that even when stating that opinions are his/her own, he/she will still be perceived as an affiliate of the company.

6. Do not discuss company, third-party, proprietary, restricted (technical or otherwise), or export-controlled information in any form to unauthorized persons. Refer to USA's company policies and procedures for guidance on the release of such information. Violating these restrictions could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination.

7. For security, export control, and privacy reasons, do not post any photographs taken inside a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and/or USA facility without first obtaining permission through the USA Information Release Request process found in FPP-C-02-06, Information Release Requests. Further, FPP-C-01-12, USA Employee Conduct Policy, prohibits the use of personal recording devices of any type without the prior consent of Human Resources (HR) and all the parties that are recorded. Violating these restrictions could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination and, in some cases, could lead to individual civil or criminal liability.

8. Do not release or promote the further external distribution (e.g., "reTweet") of any company or customer information that has not been previously approved for public release. Do not disclose any company or customer information about work in progress that has not been previously approved for public release.

9. Remember that all employees are required to sign a Report For Work Notice and Employee Agreement when hired wherein each employee agrees not to disclose information concerning work in progress at USA to anyone not authorized to receive it. This agreement extends to sharing information in a social media context.

10. Do not release or promote the further distribution of information that is untrue or deceptive.

11. Respect copyright and fair use disclosure laws. Properly cite all works referenced.

12. Show respect for all participants in the social media realm. Do not use ethnic slurs, personal insults, or obscenity or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in USA's workplace. Remember, each employee is a representative of all USA employees.

13. Try to add value to every exchange. Provide worthwhile information and perspective. USA employees are the company's best and most respected ambassadors, so keep in mind that what they post will reflect on USA, its customers, and the aerospace industry as a whole.

14. Use good judgment. Remember that there may be consequences to what is published. If the employee is uncomfortable about anything he/she is about to post, consult with a manager or with C&PR. Ultimately, the employee has sole responsibility for what he/she posts through any form of online communication.

15. Caution should be exercised with respect to promoting personal political views directly to elected officials. USA employees are generally prohibited from engaging in lobbying activities on behalf of USA without the express approval of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). If engaging in discourse with an elected official, they should clearly indicate that the opinions stated are their own and do not represent those of USA.

16. Do not use USA's logos or trademarks without permission.

17. Seek the counsel of C&PR if asked to provide an endorsement of any product, service, or company. An endorsement is any statement offering a blanket or generalized judgment, opinion, testimonial, or other comment concerning the quality, performance, characteristics, or other features of a product, service, company, or individual. When poorly worded or executed, an endorsement may unintentionally disparage a product or service provided and can be construed as an interference with another entity's business. Also, depending on how the endorsement is used, it could create a conflict of interest. If making a personal endorsement, indicate that the endorsement is the employee's personal view and does not represent the view or opinion of his/her employer.

b. Policies about and relating to the use of social media

1. Social media initiatives

C&PR has the responsibility and authority for company-level internal communications and all external communications and marketing activities. Information Management (IM) has responsibility and authority for computing system functionality, integrity, and security. To ensure that social media initiatives are in line with ongoing communications activities and IM standards, all proposals for the use or development of internal or external social media platforms for official company purposes must receive the concurrence of C&PR and IM before using such platforms.

2. Time charging

Participation in personal (non-company-sanctioned) social media activities, even those relating to the discussion of space industry issues, must be done on personal time. Employees must also comply with any restrictions in place for use of social media within any customer facilities.

The sponsoring organization for any official or company-sanctioned uses of social media interfaces shall provide additional charging instructions for any activities performed on behalf of the company.

3. Use of company-/Government-owned equipment

In accordance with other policies relating to the use of company computing resources, employees may not use their work computers to participate in personal (non-company-sanctioned) social media activities without express written consent of management. Individuals interacting with social media platforms in an official capacity on behalf of the company may use their computers for such official purposes as identified by the authorizing organization but only as their activities relate to that identified and authorized activity.

Related company policies and functional procedures include

(a) CP-D-01, Operations, Use, and Monitoring of Computer Resources and Telecommunications Equipment
(b) CP-D-02, Internet Usage Policy
(c) FPP-D-01-02, Information Technology (IT) Resource Control and Use

4. Contacts by the news media

Members of the news media actively use and develop contacts through social media platforms. All interactions with the news media through social media are subject to the same company policies that govern traditional media activities. This includes interactions with citizen journalists and bloggers. If asked to provide any information regarding company, customer, or industry events, issues, or activities on or off the record, employees are advised to contact C&PR for counsel or to refer the reporter to C&PR for response, per company policy.

Related company policies and functional procedures include

(a) CP-A-10, Public Release of Information
(b) FPP-C-01-07, Release of Company Information to Media
(c) FPP-C-02-06, Information Release Requests

5. Other policies relating to the use of social media
Numerous other company policies may also relate in some way to participation
in social media activities. Those policies include, but are not limited to,

(a) CP-A-08, Control of Sensitive Information
(b) CP-A-09, Government, Privately Owned, and Copyrighted Information
(c) CP-A-11, Employee Communications
(d) CP-A-22, Use of Copyrighted Material
(e) FPP-D-01-01, Documentation Administration and Control
(f) FPP-C-02-05, Compliance with Export Laws And Regulations

Employees with questions not covered by the policies should contact the appropriate organization for guidance.


a. The director of C&PR is responsible for implementing the provisions of this policy statement and the issuance of the supplemental directives, procedures, and instructions. The director of C&PR is also responsible for managing the development and implementation of USA's company-level internal and external social media activities.

b. The Chief Information Officer (CIO) is responsible for ensuring that Information Technology resources are protected and that those responsible for conducting official company social media activities have the necessary access to conduct company business.

c. All managers are responsible for ensuring that their employees are aware of these guidelines and for providing appropriate counsel to employees, including referring them to C&PR, regarding these guidelines.

d. All employees are responsible for ensuring that their conduct complies with all applicable policies and procedures and with USA's Business Code of Conduct. They are also responsible for the content they publish on blogs, wikis, or any other form of user-generated media. Approved:

Original approval obtained

Richard O. Covey
President and Chief Executive Officer


Basic 02/05/10

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on February 26, 2010 2:05 PM.

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