Status Report

Message to NASA Civil Service and Contractor Employees: Social Networking Tools and Web 2.0 – Appropriate Use of Web Technologies

By SpaceRef Editor
August 3, 2010
Filed under ,
Message to NASA Civil Service and Contractor Employees: Social Networking Tools and Web 2.0 – Appropriate Use of Web Technologies


Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2010 11:00 AM

Subject: Message to NASA Civil Service and Contractor Employees: Social Networking Tools and Web 2.0 – Appropriate Use of Web Technologies


Point of Contact: John Hopkins, Office of the Chief Information Officer, NASA Headquarters, 202-358-2519

Message to NASA Civil Service and Contractor Employees: Social Networking Tools and Web 2.0 – Appropriate Use of Web Technologies

The use of Web 2.0 tools can significantly enhance NASA’s ability to communicate with employees and the public about its mission. The purpose of this memorandum is to provide guidance to NASA civil service and contractor employees regarding the use of these Web technologies to facilitate collaboration and information sharing within NASA. These Web technologies include tools such as wikis, blogs, mash ups, web feeds (i.e., Really Simple Syndication and Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeds), social networking sites (e.g., Facebook), and forums, which are often collectively referred to as Web 2.0.

NASA Headquarters and the NASA centers are encouraged to use Web 2.0 tools. Employees implementing Web 2.0 technologies or integrating these tools into the NASA environment are responsible for posting and using content in accordance with applicable ethics, information assurance (IA) and privacy laws, regulations, and NASA policies. They also must adhere to IA, records management and privacy policy guidance. Policy regarding the appropriate use (both personal and professional) of government equipment with regards to Web 2.0 can be found in NPD 2540.1.

Using social media in a professional capacity (e.g., creating a Twitter feed for a mission) is an example of an official NASA communication. The informality and enforced brevity of such media notwithstanding, NASA personnel using Web 2.0 tools are representing the agency, and their communications must be professional and factually accurate.

NASA employees are reminded that Web-based collaboration is intended for information sharing and content not approved for public release must be handled appropriately. The posting or sharing of data within the suite of Web 2.0 solutions must be handled in accordance with NPR 2810.1, including Sensitive but Unclassified (SBU) Information. As the content owners, NASA Headquarters and centers are responsible for monitoring and maintaining Web content.

While these collaborative tools present many useful opportunities, the improper use of Web 2.0 technologies can expose NASA to threats that could adversely impact NASA mission operations and/or compromise data confidentiality and integrity, or promote fraud, waste, and abuse of government equipment. To assist in identifying risks associated with implementation and providing advice on secure implementation, please contact the appropriate IT Security Manager at your center.

For details, please review the “Policies and Guidelines Applicable to Social Media Technology” listed below. Additional information is available on the Office of the Chief Information Officer Web page

The NASA Chief Information Officer point of contact for Web 2.0 is John Hopkins, who can be reached at or 202-358-2519.

Policy and Guidelines Applicable to Social Media Technologies

Applicable NASA policies:

NASA Policy on the Release of Information to News and Information Media

NPD 2540.1, Personal Use of Government Office Equipment Including Information Technology

NPR 2810.1, Security of Information Technology: Chapter 11, Section 3.9, Internet Publishing Content Requirements

NPD 2810.1, NASA Information Security Policy

NPR 1600.1, NASA Security Program Procedural Documents, Section 5.24 Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) Controlled Information

NM 1382-42, NASA Principles and Policies on Scientific Openness


1. Know and follow NASA rules and regulations as stated in the policies above.

2. Act responsibly — Think before posting. Even if a comment can be removed from a site, once it is posted it can be preserved by others and reposted.

3. Unless you are officially representing NASA as a spokesperson (Official Use), do not represent yourself as speaking for NASA.

4. Be yourself – Use the first person and speak for yourself, not for NASA.

5. Identify yourself – State your name and role when you discuss your work.

6. Write what you know – Stick to sharing facts and opinions about your areas of expertise.

7. You are personally responsible for the content you publish on blogs, wikis or any other form of user-generated media.

8. Be honest and transparent – Truth and sarcasm look the same on paper. The best way to make sure that you convey a truthful message is to be true.

9. Be professional and respectful at all times.

10. Contribute, engage, get involved – The unique value of social media is to interact with others by commenting, replying, giving feedback and letting your voice be heard. Without it, you’re just broadcasting.

11. Maintain and update content to ensure accurate and timely information.

12. Correct and acknowledge mistakes – You might know that something you stated was not quite right, and have corrected yourself. But do others?

13. Obey copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws.

14. Be prepared to spend time providing answers and responses to questions posed by the public. If the questions wander outside the bounds of your expertise, politely decline and/or refer them to the Public Inquiries group in the Office of Communications (

15. Any online communication regarding NASA financial data is strictly forbidden except via official NASA processes.

16. Information such as NASA’s or a contractor’s intellectual property, trade secrets, ITAR, Sensitive But Unclassified (SBU) and customer data are strictly forbidden from any online discourse except by authorized personnel in accordance with the specific NASA external communications process.

17. Do not use a public social media service for a NASA-related activity or discussion that is not meant for total public access. If the topic is not for release to the public, use an internal social media tool.

18. For reasons of liability, do not participate in any type of personal recommendation of another individual related to employment considerations. Follow NASA policy and refer all communication of this type to Human Resources for verification.

19. Do not provide any type of endorsement of a product or company for reasons of liability. Follow NASA policy and refer all communication of this type to the Office of General Counsel for verification.

20. Violation of NASA policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination or other intervention.

21. Don’t blog proprietary or privileged information. Don’t assume you can “tweet” or blog the meeting you just attended. Ask the meeting leader.

22. Don’t cite or reference clients, partners or suppliers without their approval. When you do make a reference, link back to the source where possible.

23. Don’t use social media to release NASA “news.” News can be any previously “unreleased information with the potential to generate significant media, or public interest or inquiry.” Only official spokespeople are authorized to speak for NASA in an official capacity regarding NASA policy, programmatic, and budget issues. When in doubt, ask PAO.

24. Don’t forget your day job. You should make sure that your online activities do not interfere with your job commitments. Your manager does have the right to limit the use of social media at work.


This notice is being sent agencywide to all employees by NASA INC in the Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters.

SpaceRef staff editor.