479 NEWS

Using Social Media Responsibly

From the Desk of Michael Akins, Business Agent

Last summer Local 479 posted an article Honoring Your Non-Disclosure Agreements which mentioned a common legal document that nearly all film and television production companies include in their employees’ start paperwork – the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). This post reminded our members that the NDA’s they sign specifically prohibit the sharing of photos, videos, and other confidential information related to the production, and that violations of the NDA most often result in termination of employment.

This is an important point to bring back to the attention of our membership and expand upon in light of many recent events. While the NDA provided by Employers may only prohibit the posting and sharing of information relating to the content of the production, keep in mind that posts discussing any kind of work events have the potential to cause a backlash. These types of posts often have the unfortunate side effect of providing fodder for rumors and speculative conversation in a public forum amongst individuals that may not understand the true nature of the events they are discussing.

This is not meant to suggest that you remain silent about concerns or issues that you encounter in the workplace. There are some very important conversations happening in our society right now, and this local applauds those individuals that are engaged and involved in making positive changes to our industry and how our work is done. Rather, this is a reminder that words are powerful and social media networks provide instantaneous transmission of these thoughts and ideas. Please think twice before you post about something that has to do with your work.

There have been instances where social media posts have shared details about on-set accidents immediately after their occurrence, providing the general public with information that the family members of those involved in the accidents had not yet been informed of. In circumstances like this, especially, let’s remember to respect the privacy of our co-workers and refrain from immediate posts about these types of events.

If you witness an event during the course of your work on a production that you feel the need to speak up about, consider the proper channels of reporting before taking to social media. Unsafe work practices should be reported to the Company and the Union for immediate action, and there are many ways to make those reports, even if you choose to remain anonymous. Acts of discrimination and abuse are very serious, and will not be tolerated. These kinds of reports should be made to the parent studio’s HR department or directly to the appropriate agency to ensure that a speedy investigation takes place. Posting details of events like these to social media could interfere with those investigation processes and cause unintended consequences.

Even day-to-day disagreements, personality conflicts between co-workers, and other similar types of disputes may cause strife when discussed on social media platforms. Please think carefully before carrying those issues into public forums.

Social media is a wonderful tool that provides us all with ways to stay connected, gain information, and share our voice with the world. Let us all work to use this tool in positive and effective ways, and refrain from posts that may fuel rumor mills, release information about private matters, or cause unintended negative consequences to our fellow co-workers.