New Delhi: The government on Thursday issued guidelines for its departments using social media networks asking them not to post confidential information and "unverified" facts.
With 40 million Facebook and 16 million Twitter users in India, social media have emerged as a powerful platform for forming an opinion as well as generating mass support, the Information Technology Ministry said in its 38-page guidelines issued on Thursday.
"Great care must be taken to avoid propagation of unverified facts and frivolous misleading rumours," it said.
The guidelines said personal comments for or against any individuals or agencies should not be made.
It asked persons handling social media for all government agencies including public sector undertakings not to "comment and respond unless authorised to do so especially in the matters that are sub-judice, draft legislations or relating to other individuals".
Asking social media handlers to be polite, discrete and respectful, the guidelines said personal comments for or against any individuals or agencies should not be made and professional discussions should not be politicised.
"Not all posts/comments need to be responded to immediately and individually. Also, wherever a response is required all posts should be kept short and to the point," it said adding infringement of IPR and copyrights of others should be avoided.
The guidelines said while employees were free to post response in their personal capacity, "it is mandatory that while they are doing so, they must clearly identify themselves, confidential information must not be divulged and should not be seen to represent 'official view' unless authorised to do so".