Social media policy

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is present on a number of social media platforms to inform and engage with the public about the Agency’s work to protect and improve the environment, and enhance human health. The MPCA’s use of social media is intended to encourage interaction between Minnesotans interested in environmental issues and the Agency. The MPCA cannot verify or confirm the accuracy of user comments or their compliance with the guidelines outlined here. Furthermore, the MPCA does not endorse any of the views in comments posted by users.

The MPCA is currently on the following social media platforms: 

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Flickr
Pinterest
YouTube

Privacy

The MPCA’s social media accounts are not official government websites, but rather its presence on a third-party service provider’s platform, which means the Agency has limited control over how each platform uses personal data provided by users. Users are encouraged to read the privacy policy of each social media platform in advance of engaging with the Agency via these platforms. As a reminder, communications with the MPCA, whether on social media or in an e-mail or traditional mail, are subject to Minn. Stat. Chapter 13, the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. 

The MPCA recommends that users of social media platforms refrain from including personal information that they wish to remain confidential when interacting with the Agency’s social media accounts.

In an effort to comply with the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act and other laws, including copyright laws, the MPCA may seek to limit or remove information from social media platforms. For example, it may limit or remove information pertaining to Agency staff, whose personnel data are protected under the Act. 

Content

People who follow or “like” content on MPCA’s profile pages across platforms can expect regular posts covering some or all of the following:

  • Information about environmental quality (air, water, land, energy, waste, and other topic areas)
  • Information about pollution and its impact on the environment 
  • Information about the Agency’s ongoing work, projects, and initiatives
  • Tips for preventing pollution and reducing waste
  • Information about the Agency’s legislative and funding priorities 
  • Announcements of meetings, events, and educational outreach opportunities

Shared content

The MPCA may also occasionally share content from other social media users or websites it thinks may be of interest to its followers, and that support the Agency’s mission of protecting and improving the environment, and enhancing human health. 

Links to other resources are provided solely for the convenience of users and are intended to point users to additional information that may add perspective for users. The MPCA is not responsible for the accuracy, currency, or reliability of the content of these links. It does not offer any guarantee in that regard and is not responsible for the information found through these links, nor does it explicitly or implicitly endorse these sites or their content.

Liking, sharing, and re-tweeting

The MPCA follows and likes other environmentally related and news media social media pages, pages of local governments throughout the Twin Cities region, and relevant state and federal agencies. The MPCA may also follow and like organizations it has partnered with for specific efforts or whose work is relevant to its mission.

The MPCA's decision to “like” a particular social media page, or the appearance of a user as a follower of the Agency, does not imply endorsement of any kind.

MPCA content is also intended to be shared, and users are encouraged to share content it finds relevant or interesting.

Photos

  • The MPCA may post photos and videos including, but not limited to:
  • Images of the environment
  • Behind-the-scenes work
  • MPCA facilities and surrounding areas
  • Historical media
  • MPCA employees and customers enjoying and improving nature

The MPCA utilizes photo metadata to better organize files and improve searchability. This may include existing tags generated by other social media users to categorize content. The inclusion of a tag within social media photo content does not imply endorsement of any kind. Users who use similar tags should be responsible and follow the same guidelines elsewhere in this statement. 

Hashtags

The MPCA utilizes unique hashtags and existing hashtags generated by other social media users to categorize content, find and/or share related media and execute contests. As is the nature of hashtags, users are welcome to tag their own images and videos using the unique hashtags created by the MPCA or other social media users. The inclusion of a hashtag on an Agency post does not imply endorsement of any kind. Users who tag their content using the same hashtags should be responsible and follow the same guidelines as aforementioned in the comment policy.

Posting frequency

The number of posts per day will vary. Most posts and responses will occur weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. CST.

Availability

The MPCA's social media updates are subject to downtime that may be out of its control, because most social media platforms are on servers are managed by a third party. The MPCA accepts no responsibility for social media networks becoming unresponsive or unavailable.

Accessibility

The MPCA strives to post accessible content both on its web pages and third-party, social media platforms. For videos, the Agency relies on built-in closed captioning features, which requires occasional editing for accuracy and clarity. Upon request, videos may be translated into other languages. If the captioning on a video needs adjusting, for more information about accessibility standards, or to ask a question, contact us at communication.pca@state.mn.us

Commenting on social media 

The MPCA encourages members of the community to interact on environmental issues with the Agency, its members and staff, and one another via social media. We expect that followers and others will interact in a respectful manner.

Individual users are fully responsible for anything they post in comments, including links, videos/photos and other material.

The MPCA does not agree with or endorse every comment that individuals post on our pages. Our goal is to share ideas and information with as many individuals as possible and our policy is to accept the majority of comments made to our profile.

However, consistent with information elsewhere in this statement, comments may be removed and users blocked for the following behaviors:

  • Threats of violence or other potentially criminal behavior,
  • Hate speech,
  • Profanity, obscenity or vulgarity,
  • Nudity in profile pictures,
  • Defamation to a person or people,
  • Name calling and/or personal attacks,
  • Comments specific to a person’s employment with the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency that may be considered non-public information or require further investigation,
  • Comments whose main purpose are to sell a product,
  • Comments that infringe on copyrights,
  • Spam comments, such as the same comment posted repeatedly on a profile,
  • Links to non-relevant sites (that could be construed as spam), and
  • Other comments that the Agency deems inappropriate.

All links posted as comments on Agency posts will be reviewed and may be deleted.

For questions regarding this policy or interacting with the MPCA via social media, contact us at communication.pca@state.mn.us