The Hatch Act and Social Media
When engaging in political activities on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and others, you should be aware that some of the same rules regarding prohibited political activity that apply during your AmeriCorps VISTA service year are applicable both when you are performing your VISTA duties and when you are on personal time. To learn more about prohibited political activity, and how it applies to you during your service year, review the Political Activities section of this course.
With few exceptions below, as long as you are 1) on your own time, i.e. not on duty; 2) not perceived to be on duty; and 3) not using resources from your service site, you can use your personal social media profiles to advocate for or against political views, parties, groups, and candidates via blog posts, likes, retweets, etc.
You may NOT at any time during your VISTA service, even when not on duty and using your personal social media account(s):
- Post political content (or initiate lobbying) on any of the OFFICIAL AmeriCorps VISTA and CNCS social media pages (including Facebook, Twitter, VISTA Campus forums, etc.). These official sites are designed to share news, resources, and official program policy information.
- “Post”, “like”, “share”, comment on, or retweet political fundraising messages
- Use your site’s computer, workspace, and bandwidth to create or send political social media posts or emails. You cannot use your site’s resources in a manner that supports or identifies your site or the AmeriCorps VISTA program with partisan or non-partisan activities. This is true even when using your personal accounts on your site’s resources and when on break.
As the next examples will show, you may voice your political opinions, if you follow the guidelines above.