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Dole-office civil servants allowed Twitter but no Facebook

The fine line between tools and timewasting

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Twitter is fine for civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions but Facebook is strictly banned, the Minister for Employment Chris Grayling ruled in a response to a written question by Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson.

As well as tweeting, Work & Pensions department staff are permitted to upload employment information and make professional contact on fine-and-serious CV site LinkedIn, but any poking or liking is strictly out of the question - as are many personal email sites, according to the DWP press office.

Grayling declared: "The department recognises social media is a valuable tool for engaging with jobseekers and partners. All staff have access to LinkedIn and Twitter for business use and the department actively uses social networking to communicate with customers."

But they can't go actively communicating with customers on the biggest social medium of them all - Facebook: "Access to some internet sites from departmental computers is restricted or blocked. This includes Facebook."

However, Grayling said communications workers could still pop on to Facebook because their roles "involve use of social media".

However a DWP communications worker told us that not all communications workers were allowed on Facebook - presumably only ones who really need to visit the site get the magic go-ahead - and our source did confirm that DWP computers were blocked from Facebook as a default.

Sadly the DWP press office refused to answer our question about whether any particular breaches of information triggered the ban, or if the Facebook-enabled comms workers were resented by their colleagues for their unlimited access to Web 2.0.

They told us: "The Department takes a view about which websites are appropriate for staff to have access to. Facebook and many personal email websites are blocked from staff use. Communications colleagues with access to Facebook use it for business purposes."

It all reminds us of this: Most bosses monitor or block access to social networks at work. ®

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