I.           Purpose
II.          Applicability
III.         Superseded Policy
IV.         Policy
                     A.      Be Honest
                     B.      Be Clear
                     C.      Be Careful
                                       i.    Protecting GM Information
                                       ii.   Protecting Other People’s Information
                     D.      Be Respectful
                     E.      Be Aware
                     F.      Be Responsible
V.        Related Regional/Country Policies
                     A.      Retaining GM Business Records and Social Media Content
                     B.      Personal References on Social Media Sites
                     C.      Responding to Negative Content You May See About GM
                     D.      Internal Social Media
                     E.      Country Specific Addendum
                                       i.    India
                                       ii.   Germany and Austria

I.      Purpose

Social Media is constantly changing the way we connect. Social media consists of websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. For example, a person posting a picture on Facebook of their family road trip is using social media. It helps us start new relationships with customers and colleagues from around the globe, sometimes with a single #tweet. These Social Media Guidelines have been developed to help you to be aware of your rights and obligations and to empower you to communicate the positive vision of our @GM brands.

This policy is not intended to interfere with your legally protected rights or to prohibit communications protected by local law. Unique local country requirements can be obtained by clicking on a link in the footnote below or, if there is no link, by contacting your country’s Legal Staff representatives.

This Global Social Media Policy is designed to:

  • help prevent disclosure of GM’s confidential business information through the use of Social Media;
  • clarify the parameters for official GM spokespersons to communicate on Social Media
  • clarify the parameters for personal GM employee and GM representative Social Media communications; and
  • reflect our legal obligations.

You have a responsibility to be familiar with and comply with this policy. And, because Social Media is used in a variety of ways, you’ll find specific expectations outlined below that may apply to your online activities.

II.      Applicability

This policy supplements GM’s Code of Conduct, Winning with Integrity, and also applies to the following:

  • GM salary and hourly employees
  • Employees of GM subsidiaries in which:
                     i.      GM owns more than 50% of the equity interest directly or indirectly, or exercises management
                             control, including GM employees seconded to GM’s non-controlled partners or joint ventures.
                     ii.     NOTE: For companies and employees of companies in which GM owns 50% or less of an
                             entity, and does not exercise management control, a case-by-case determination by the
                             Social Media Policy Governance Council is made as to whether this policy applies.

With respect to consultants, agents, sales representatives, independent contractors, and contract workers (collectively, “GM Representatives”) this policy applies to them, when they act on behalf of GM.

Failure to comply with this policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

III.      Superseded Policy

  • LAST UPDATE: January 2017
  • This policy supersedes and replaces all previous Global Social Media Policies.
  • OWNER: GM Social Media Center of Expertise (GM COE)
  • SCOPE: Global
  • APPROVERS:  GM Social Media Center of Expertise (GM COE)

 IV.      Policy

A.      Be Honest: Disclosing Your Identity
Whenever you’re talking online about the auto industry or GM, you must disclose that you work for or with GM and your position (i.e. vehicle engineer, agency supporting Chevrolet, etc.). For example; include #IWorkForGM if you are an employee of GM and include #IWorkWithGM if you are an agency, vendor or partner working with GM. Including the #IWorkForGM or the #IWorkWithGM hashtags in your posts or tweets is a quick and easy way to provide appropriate disclosure, and adding your association with GM to your profile also helps provide meaningful disclosure. Note that even when you disclose your relationship to GM, the other rules and guidance in this policy still apply.

Do not submit consumer reviews for GM products or competitive products. As employees of or partners with GM, we have a natural bias and are not simply consumers. Because of this, posting reviews on Social Media is not appropriate.

In the United States, these principles are consistent with Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidance on endorsements and employee disclosures. You can find the FTC Endorsement Guidelines here. These disclosures (and the use of #IWorkForGM or #IWorkWithGM) are equally important for any agency, vendor, partner, or similar third party who is discussing GM or the auto industry online.  

GM also requires Social Media influencers and bloggers, who may be provided with vehicles, hosted at events or being paid for their services, to disclose any association they have with GM to their readers when posting anything about GM or its products or services. Any employee and/or agency partner who is responsible for this type of activity must ensure this policy is followed and that there are mechanisms in place to monitor influencers’ and bloggers’ compliance.

B.      Be Clear: Your Views Are Your Own
Only official GM Social Media spokespeople can officially speak on behalf of GM. Even when you have identified yourself as working for GM (including on your Social Media profiles such as but not limited to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Weibo, VKontakte and/or Facebook), make sure you are clear that the views and opinions you have expressed are your own, and not those of GM, when you are discussing GM or its products or services. If you think that an “official” GM response may be required, contact the GM Corporate Social Media Team at socialmedia@gm.com.

C.      Be Careful: What You Share And How You Share It
You are personally responsible for your words and actions, so use good judgment. Be honest, truthful and appropriate throughout your Social Media communications. Keep in mind, your posts can potentially tarnish reputations or infringe on the rights of someone else (including GM and its employees).

Be sure your online postings about GM or its products or services are accurate and not misleading. Do not post any information or rumors that you suspect or know to be false about GM, other employees, customers, suppliers or competitors. If you make a mistake, correct it quickly. Remember that information travels quickly on the Internet and even deleted posts may be recovered.

It is okay to refer others to public GM official sites (e.g., GM.com, Chevrolet.com, Opel.com, Holden.com), especially if you want to clear up misconceptions, so feel free to include a link. Do not, however, agree to terms that bind GM, or that would give the site rights to content that belongs to GM, its licensors, licensees, customers, or other related entities.

Remember that you are personally responsible for complying with the rules of use or terms and conditions of any Social Media site where you participate, and that they differ from site to site. Be familiar with them before you engage.

i.      Protecting GM Information
You should never reveal non-public company information, financial or otherwise, on a site accessible to anyone outside of GM. You also should not comment in Social Media about information or topics covered by the attorney-client privilege.

Examples of prohibited disclosures include:

  • Knowledge of potential acquisitions or divestitures
  • Future product launches
  • Financial information
  • Production schedules
  • Material costs or profit margins
  • Management or staffing changes
  • Trade secrets or information that gives GM a competitive advantage
  • Information directly or indirectly related to the safety performance of GM systems or vehicle components
  • Information related to accessories, components, or styling decisions affecting GM’s future products
  • GM Secret, Confidential or Attorney-Client Privileged information
  • Undisclosed personal information about another GM employee, such as his or her medical condition, performance, employment status, or government identifier/social security number
  • Undisclosed information about GM customers or suppliers.

In addition, you should not comment publicly on any vehicle recalls or pending litigation.

To view your responsibilities regarding the purchase or sale of GM securities, please refer to GM’s Insider Trading Policy. For more details about sharing GM information, review GM’s Code of Conduct, Winning with Integrity. For a source of publicly released information, go to GM’s public websites, where you can access global and local public information by country. If you are still in doubt, don’t post.

Be mindful that when “checking in” (i.e., establishing a geo location using GPS to place yourself on social networks) at GM facilities and on business trips, you could potentially reveal information that may be intended to give GM a competitive business advantage and could be harmful to the Company if made public.

When taking photos in GM locations, even if photography is permitted, it remains important to be careful not to disclose competitively significant or other confidential information.  For example, if you are posting photos, ensure that images or words in the background do not unintentionally reveal GM Confidential Information (for example, a team photo with a visible launch calendar in the background). Do not incorporate GM logos, trademarks or other assets in your posts. When using GM websites, or when posting about GM’s products or services, make sure you do not post content without securing all necessary permissions first. However, if you are posting a direct “share” from Company sites, GM's logo may be automatically attached; and that is okay.

Keep in mind that representatives from GM Communications and GM Legal are available to assist with any questions; but if you are unsure whether the information in your post falls into one of the above categories and would violate this policy, DO NOT SHARE.

ii.      Protecting Other Peoples’ Information
As you use Social Media, you should always be mindful of the rights of others.

Many Social Media sites impose restrictions regarding proprietary information and content; confidentiality; and the brands, trademarks and copyrights of others. It is important to be mindful of these restrictions when quoting others or sharing photos, music, videos or other content and not to post material that would potentially violate copyright infringement laws, intellectual property laws, publicity laws, or trademark laws.

When using GM websites, or when posting about GM’s products or services, make sure you do not post content without securing all necessary permissions first.

You should not post personal information about another person, such as his or her medical condition, performance, employment status, or government identifier/social security number. Hurt feelings, damaged relationships and even lawsuits can result from bringing other people or their property into an online setting without their permission.

D.      Be Respectful
Remember that customers, colleagues, supervisors, suppliers, competitors and other members of the public may have access to your posts. These individuals reflect a diverse set of customs, values and viewpoints. Offensive, demeaning, abusive or inappropriate remarks (including threats of violence or bullying) are as out-of-place online as they are offline, even if they are unintentional. Posting offensive language or pictures could contribute to co-workers’ hostile work environment claims on the basis of race, age, gender, disability, religion, or any other status protected by the law or GM policy. It will also likely diminish the trust and respect your co-workers have for you and reflect badly on you and GM.

We expect you to abide by the same standards of behavior in your Social Media communications as you do in the workplace, because what you say in your personal Social Media channels impacts the work environment. Your online communications will not be excused merely because they occurred outside of work hours or off GM premises.

Think carefully about “friending” co-workers (including leaders or direct reports) on external Social Media sites. For example, consider whether a friend request may be viewed by the recipient as harassing, intimidating or unwelcomed. Conversely, you should not feel pressured to accept friend or follower requests from those you work with. It’s your choice how much you want to combine your personal and professional online lives.

For additional information about GM’s policies on appropriate workplace conduct please click on the following links:

- GM's Code of Conduct, Winning with Integrity
2011 CBA (U.S. represented employees)

In addition, you should refrain from posting content that may be construed as grossly offensive or of menacing character, or causing inconvenience, annoyance, danger, obstruction or insult. You should also be cautious about publishing any content on Social Media, which could be construed as contempt of court, i.e. publication which is calculated to bring a Court or a Judge into contempt, or to lower his authority, or to interfere with the due course of justice or the lawful process of the Court.

E.      Be Aware: Online Communications Travel Fast, Remain Forever and are Not Really “Private”
The internet is public, and it has a long memory. Even information you may think you have protected as “private” on some Social Media sites may be accessed by others. Consider everything you post to the Internet as potentially discoverable by anyone. Keep in mind that technology makes it virtually impossible to completely “delete” something online and incredibly easy to send a post to millions of other users. Before you share anything, make sure you will not regret saying it, even if a reporter, a relative, your manager or colleague were to view it.

GM employees should have no expectation of privacy concerning their use of GM Information Resources, including but not limited to email, corporate approved instant messaging tools, GM-provided computing equipment and cell phones/mobiles/tablets, the GM Intranet, GM-provided access to the public Internet, or other GM Information Systems, except where applicable law provides differently. For more information, review the Acceptable Use Practices on the Global Ethics and Compliance Center website on Socrates.

F.      Be Responsible
As a GM employee, you have the ultimate responsibility for policy compliance by third parties you oversee within the scope of your employment. For example, this includes GM suppliers, agencies or personal contacts you encourage to speak about GM and/or its products.

It is important that all partners understand the implications of referencing General Motors and/or their relationship with GM and its brands in all forms of Social Media and online conversations, and that associates recognize when General Motors might be held responsible for their online behavior.

Furthermore, you should not open GM social media channels without approval from the GM Social Media Center of Expertise. The GM CoE approves requests to open new General Motors social media channels and can provide the proper resources needed to ensure the potential new channel’s success. You should not open social channels, communities, hubs or other social media groups that represent or are branded as General Motors or any of its brands, products, or affiliates without first contacting the GM CoE. Please contact the GM CoE at socialmedia@gm.com for additional information.

V.     Related Regional/Country Policies

A.     Retaining GM Business Records and Social Media Content

Social Media technologies are not currently designed to reasonably or practically create, retain and dispose of GM business records sufficiently for purposes of the Information Lifecycle Management (ILM) Policy and GM Record Retention Schedule (GMRRS). Therefore, unless (i) you are using GM Overdrive, or (ii) you are acting on GM’s behalf as an authorized Social Media user (i.e. running the Chevrolet Facebook page), you should not use Social Media to conduct GM business.

You should not post any message or communicate with anyone through Social Media about a subject that is covered by a litigation or open tax year hold. Be aware that information discussed using Social Media technologies may become relevant to litigation or other investigation proceedings and may be subject to a Litigation Hold. Litigation Holds are instructions issued by GM Legal Staff that require records be preserved for litigation and government investigations. If the content of a Social Media communication is relevant to a Litigation Hold, regardless of whether it is a business record or non-business record, that communication must be preserved until the hold is lifted.

B.     Personal References on Social Media Sites

GM’s policy prohibits employees from providing professional references or recommendations for current or former GM employees, contract workers or consultants, either written, verbal or through Social Media. While we do not prohibit employees from providing personal references for friends or colleagues, please do not refer to GM employment or include a GM position title or utilize GM letterhead in the personal reference. An exception to this is where local country employment laws may oblige us to provide such references, and this requires prior approval of the local HR Director.

C.     Responding to Negative Content You May See about GM

General Motors recognizes that our employees are vital assets for monitoring the Social Media landscape. You may encounter consumer complaints about specific vehicles or specific issues while online. Speak up for safety and please bring these issues to the attention of the Social CoE at socialmedia@gm.com. For any issue regarding a customer's ownership experience or GM vehicle, please refer the customer to GM Customer Service.

D.     Internal Social Media

GM has made internal social media networks, such as OverDrive, available for employees to share workplace information within GM. Internal collaboration tools and sites are valuable resources for conducting company business and helping employees share information, comment on company news and collaborate with their work group or other teams.

While we recognize that there may be some uses of GM’s internal social media networks that are not entirely related to GM business, (e.g. Belle Isle Cycling Club, Ads), non-business uses should be limited and you should always keep GM’s Purpose and Values in mind when using GM’s social media networks.

OverDrive Administrators reserve the right to delete or remove content they deem inappropriate according to GM’s Code of Conduct or other Company policies. Notify an OverDrive administrator if you are concerned that posted content is not consistent with GM’s policies. You may also report misconduct through Awareline.

Remember, just as with external social media, use good judgment. Online activities may affect personal reputation, image and the ability to effectively interact with coworkers and business partners.

E.      Country Specific Addendum

This Policy is not intended, and will not be administered, to prohibit speech that is protected by law. GM's Social Media Policy will be administered in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations (including, in the U.S., Section 7 of the U.S. National Labor Relations Act). For employees and representatives outside the U.S., this Policy is subject to the applicable laws in the countries in which it is administered.

i.            India

Employees in India should adhere to all of the provisions of the GM Employee and Representative Social Media Policy.

ii.            Germany & Austria

At the current time this policy is not applicable to employees in Germany and Austria, but they should adhere to regional/local laws.