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Home Office staff sacked for Facebook, MySpace and Bebo use

11 Feb 2013
The UK Home Office

Three civil servants have been sacked by the Home Office for their use of social media.

According to a Freedom of Information request all three members of staff were sacked for bringing the department into disrepute through their internet postings, although each posted on a different social media sites.

One member of staff was dismissed for their use of MySpace, another for use of Facebook and another for using Bebo. All three sackings were said to be as a result of "bring[ing] the Department into disrepute".

The Home Office has also issued another 11 warnings to members of staff for their social media use.

Three of these were to staff members for breaking their employment terms and conditions, also known as the Civil Service Code, on Twitter.

Meanwhile, other Home Office staff were chastised for causing a security breach and making offensive comments on Facebook.

A Home Office spokesperson said staff need abide by particular conditions while working for the department.

"The Home Office has clear guidance for staff on the use of social media, as well as their responsibilities as civil servants, and the vast majority abide by these rules. For the tiny minority who don't, there are disciplinary measures in place," said the spokesperson.

Steven George-Hilley, technology director at Conservative think-tank Parliament Street, had first made the request to the Home Office, and V3 has seen a copy of the response.

He argued the government should be embracing digital channels, especially because of its commitment to become digital by default.

"Simply sacking staff over social media blunders is a short term solution, instead departments should be training and informing workers about how to best use these channels to deliver faster, more interactive public services," he said.

Late last year the Department for Transport was found to have sacked five workers for social media misuse.

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Rosalie Marshall

Rosalie Marshall is the special projects editor and chief reporter at V3. Previously she was a reporter for IT Week and channel editor for online television site Rosalie covers government IT, business applications, IT skills, open source technology and social networks.

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