State Dep. issues new guidelines about discussing Trump online

Employees of the U.S. State Department using online social media accounts have been given new guidance regarding promotion of  U.S. government officials and their family.

There were two incidents that may have created the need for the new guidance. In April, an article on a State Department website included information about Mar-a-Lago. Then in May, a retweet about Ivanka Trumps’s new book came from a State Department account. Both were withdrawn.

Released Tuesday, new guidelines were posted on an internal website.  The rules were written by the Office of Ethics and Financial Disclosure.  It reminds employees to “exercise caution before using a State Department’s social media account to highlight non-official activities of U.S. government officials and their family.”

Although the guidance doesn’t specifically mention Trump or his family, it appears to be a response to the article about Mar-a-Largo and the retweet about Ivanka’s book.  The guidelines states: “If a government official has a commercial enterprise or has published a book, U.S. government resources should not be used to publicize those ventures.”

The new guidelines were sent to social media managers in charge of hundreds of official government accounts. Those accounts, on sites like Facebook and Twitter, are used to communicate official information from the State Department as well as consulates and embassies.

A State Department official said the legal adviser’s office routinely provides ethics guidance to employees and declined to further comment about internal communications.

The State Department said the inclusion of information about Mar-a-Lago in the article was to let the public know where Trump was hosting world leaders.

The Twitter post came from an account for the State Department’s Office of Global Women’s Issues.

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