Eleven employees at the government’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have been sacked for using Twitter or Facebook since 2009.
According to data obtained by the Guardian via a Freedom of Information request, some 105 other employees have also faced disciplinary action for blogging and social networking during this period.
Of the employees that kept their jobs, 34 were given a final written warning, 35 received a written warning and 36 were reprimanded orally for their use of social networks.
The news may come as a surprise to some given that the government has been pushing a comprehensive digital strategy on Whitehall departments and is attempting to interact with the public via different platforms and popular internet-based tools, such as Twitter.
For instance, the official Number 10 Twitter account has nearly 2.2 million followers and David Cameron himself has accrued some 200,000 himself since joining the micro-blogging site last year.
The DWP told the Guardian that use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites was ‘completely restricted’ for most of its workers and that the only employees allowed to use the sites are those who have ‘genuine requirement for access’.
A spokeswoman for the department said: “The DWP has clear guidelines for staff on the use of the internet and social media. The vast majority of staff abide by these rules.
“For the small minority who don’t, we have strict disciplinary measures in place, ranging from a warning to dismissal.”
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