These guidelines are designed to assist you in making responsible decisions when creating, posting or otherwise contributing to blogs, social networks, wikis, virtual worlds or other social media. Whether you use external sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest or Wikipedia or internal sites – or comment on blogs or any form of digital media – these guidelines are for you. They cover three main areas:
- Basic principles for all types of social media
- Special guidelines for professional use of social media on behalf of the company
- Special guidelines for personal use of social media
These principles apply to professional use of social media on behalf of our company as well as personal use.
- Adhere to our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics and the Trust Principles. You can find copies of these documents on our website.
- Use common sense and good judgment. You’re accountable for your actions and your statements could have an impact on others. Remember that what you post or publish may be public information for a long time.
- Don’t post information or news that you know is false. If you realize that you’ve make a mistake or error, correct it quickly.
- Be respectful. Always be fair and courteous to fellow co-workers, customers, suppliers or people who work on behalf of Thomson Reuters even if you disagree with their opinion. A conversational, personal tone often works best – similar to how you’d speak.
- Be sensible. When posting, avoid using statements, photos, video or audio that reasonably could be viewed as malicious, obscene, threatening or intimidating, that disparage customers, co-workers or suppliers, or that might constitute harassment or bullying. Examples of this type of conduct might include offensive posts meant to intentionally harm someone’s reputation or posts that could contribute to a hostile work environment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex/gender (including pregnancy), gender identity and expression, national origin, disability, marital status, age, sexual orientation, citizenship status, Veteran status or any other classification protected by applicable law, rules or regulations.
- Be transparent and disclose your relationship to the company. If you’re writing about Thomson Reuters or our products, services or industry, use your real name (not a pseudonym), identify that you work for Thomson Reuters and be clear about your role. If you have a vested interest in what you’re discussing, be the first to openly say so.
- Maintain the confidentiality of business and proprietary information. Don’t externally disclose, post or share business-related, confidential information or communications that belong to Thomson Reuters or our customers, vendors, suppliers or others, such as customer lists, pricing and sales information, financial data, systems and technology information, intellectual property and operating plans. This type of information also shouldn’t be shared with others at Thomson Reuters unless there’s a legitimate “need to know” and you’re authorized to do so. If you’re uncertain whether information is meant to be private or internal to Thomson Reuters, seek the advice of a Media Relations representative, a Thomson Reuters lawyer or your manager.
- Refer media, press and investor inquiries to our authorized company spokespersons if an official company response is needed. Employees should not speak on Thomson Reuters behalf with the media, press or analysts/shareholders without contacting Media Relations or Investor Relations.
- Respect intellectual property rights. One of the key operating characteristics of our company is our strong technology platforms and valuable content. Our principal intellectual property assets include patents, trademarks, trade secrets, databases and copyrights. For Thomson Reuters protection, as well as your own, it’s critical that you show proper respect for copyright, trademark and other intellectual property rights of our company and others.
- Minimize security risks. Social media sites and accounts can attract hackers and can present risks to corporate networks as well as your personal computer or mobile device. A compromised account can also cause disclosure concerns for our company. To minimize these risks, use a password for social media accounts that isn’t easy to guess. Monitor your social media accounts periodically if you don’t actively use them. Also, be mindful that social media sites sometimes are used to distribute malicious software or code, or “malware”. If you think a link sent to you might be malware, don’t click on it, as it could result in software or code being downloaded or installed on your own computer, mobile device and/or the company’s networks.
Special Guidelines: Offical Use
- Obtain permission for official company use of social media. If you’re interested in starting an official external Thomson Reuters-sponsored blog, website, podcast, account, page, group, etc. related to our business, products or services, contact the Social Media Team at corporatesocialmedia[at]thomsonreuters.com.
- Remember that you’re representing the company in your posts and content.
- Don’t delete a comment just because you disagree with the commenter’s point of view. Comments are an important part of the conversation and a foundational aspect of social media. People will disagree with you from time to time. However, you can (and should) monitor social media for which you are responsible, and you may delete any comments that are abusive, obscene, obviously spam or have links to irrelevant or inappropriate blogs or websites.
Special Guidelines: Personal Use
- Your personal use of social media use shouldn’t interfere with your responsibilities at Thomson Reuters. Our computer systems are to be used primarily for business purposes. While incidental personal use of our systems at work may be acceptable under certain circumstances, excessive use of our computer systems for your personal use of social media and social networks could result in the company limiting your ability to engage in these activities during work time and/or taking disciplinary action.
- If needed, clarify in a post or comment that you’re expressing your own views and opinions and not those of our company. While this type of clarification probably won’t be needed for most posts and comments, sometimes it will be important or necessary to distinguish between personal views and company views, depending on the topic.
- Don’t host personal blogs, websites or other types of online content on property owned or leased by Thomson Reuters.
Supplement Business Unit Guidelines
Some Thomson Reuters business units have supplemental social media guidelines, application forms and resources, including the Reuters Handbook of Journalism, for those in editorial or relevant media roles.
If you violate these guidelines, we may require you to correct, edit or remove a post or statement. In addition, violations of these guidelines by employees can result in disciplinary action, including termination of employment.
These guidelines will be administered in accordance with applicable laws, rules and regulations.