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NASA Ignores Its Own Social Media Policy But Who Cares, Right?

By Keith Cowing
July 13, 2021

Keith’s note: Below is the official NASA Social Media policy sent to me by NASA PAO last week. PAO has known for weeks that this official NASA Twitter account for its Deputy Administrator is non-compliant. They told me that they know. And yet they do nothing to bring it into compliance. Meanwhile NASA refuses to link to a wide range of external things which often support and enhance the reach of what NASA does – sometimes much better than NASA itself does. They tweeted a link to Ringo Starr to wish him happy birthday. That was sweet – but Ringo Starr or his company have no discernible connection to – or agreement with – NASA – do they? Why have an official policy if you just ignore it, NASA?
The NASA policy is below:

The Office of Communications strongly advises NASA social media managers to primarily link to agency-produced content, including web content posted on official agency sites, video products, and imagery.
In support of the agency’s mandate to reach the widest practicable audience, there are ongoing efforts to facilitate media interviews, subject matter expert appearances (in person and virtual), outreach activities and other engagements with journalists, bloggers, news media outlets, publications, and third-party organizations. However, social media managers should avoid linking to external content on agency-owned platforms for the following reasons:
– NASA communications does not exercise editorial control of content published by external parties.
– External content pieces and websites may include advertisements and links promoting the sale of tickets, services or products.
– The agency cannot assume responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content published on external sites.
– Even in instances where we could potentially add a disclaimer about third-party content, some NASA authority or implied endorsement is conveyed by a link.
Please note that there may be exceptions to the aforementioned linking guidance when the agency has entered a Space Act Agreement with an external party and/or when agency experts as well as the Office of Communications were actively involved in the development, content, and review of the external product (Los Angeles Times example). Per the direction of the Office of General Counsel, the agency will work to publish content on NASA-owned platforms related to collaborations and partnerships (LEGO example, Peanuts example, U.S. Postal Service example) to ensure social media admins can link to official NASA content sources.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.