Running Social Media Accounts for DiEM25
A message from the Coordinating Collective to the DSC Coordination group, 21 June 2017
Over the past months we have repeatedly had problems with Facebook and Twitter accounts, supposedly run by DiEM25, not respecting our Organising Principles and our internal democracy. They posted approval (or disapproval) of certain politicians and parties whom we hadn’t voted to endorse/unendorse, in at least one case even called to fundraise for an existing political party, in other cases posted racist content that is clearly against our manifesto. This is very worrying to the Coordinating Collective, one of whose tasks is to manage DiEM25’s public appearance.
Therefore, we wish to remind everyone that according to the Organising Principles, DSC-run / volunteer-run social media accounts must have either the full DSC name in the name or alternatively “DiEM25 Volunteers in <city>” (or translations thereof).
Social media accounts that represent a whole country, such as “DiEM25 China”, may only be administered by the relevant National Committee or, where these don’t exist, by people selected by the international Comms team (Luis Martin, Mehran Khalili and Fotini Bakadima). Social media accounts that don’t have any geographic indication, such as “DiEM25 New Deal” or “People who love DiEM25”, may only be administered by the international Comms team, with the help of other volunteers where desired.
All Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and groups that currently violate these rules must
– either rename themselves to reflect the DSC that posts there
– or make National Committee / international Comms team members into admins
For example, if a group “DiEM25 China” is managed by Beijing1DSC, the options are to rename this group to “DiEM25 Beijing1DSC”, “DiEM25 Volunteers in Beijing”, OR to keep the name as “DiEM25 China” but make the international Comms team members admins and continue with their blessing. Obviously the second option is better if a lot of group members live far from Beijing.
Additionally, no DSC social media account should be in the hands of a single person and no non-DiEMer shall be among the admins. In the Netherlands, the entire country had to rebuild their online infrastructure because they had elected new coordinators and the old coordinator was upset, left and took everything with them. In Nuremberg, one of the DSC’s founders recently passed away – if he had been the only admin, that would have created huge difficulties for the DSC. If you make a Comms team member or CC member co-admin of your DSC social media, they will not post anything but they will guarantee that control over the DSC’s social media will pass into the hands of whoever the DSC elects, and that posts that do not represent the opinion of the DSC can be removed.
And since unfortunately it seems necessary to state:
– DSC social media accounts shall not post anything that is against the manifesto.
– They shall not endorse, unendorse, fundraise for or make fun of any politician or party or its voters, except if it’s a stance that DiEM25 has collectively agreed.
– They shall aim to represent the diversity of backgrounds that is DiEM25.
Freedom of speech is unaffected by this: there is no rule regarding what you may say as a private individual, from your personal account, only what you can say in the name of DiEM25. (Though if someone wants to endorse Le Pen on his personal account, he should reconsider why he joined DiEM25.)
DiEM25 is an open, plural political movement. As such, and in line with its cornerstone democratic essence, its local groups (DSCs) are highly autonomous and are only required to adhere to the movement’s manifesto and some very basic guidelines. Such an open, free and autonomous model of self-organisation and political action requires a high level of trust among members and activists however. So, verified membership to DiEM25 (i.e., a free and simple process which takes a few minutes to complete) is fundamental for anyone wishing to actively participate in all our internal activities and decision-making processes, whether on the DSC level or the international level. The CC noticed that some DSCs mix their public and internal channels, with the result that sometimes bystanders participate in internal DSC votes or journalists read internal discussions. In order for all to feel free to express themselves and feel safe in our democratic processes, this must stop. For every communication channel you have (e.g. email lists, Facebook discussion groups, Telegram and Whatsapp channels and so on), please decide whether it will be public or internal. If it’s internal, its purpose is for self-organisation and decision-making. If it’s public, its purpose is to inform people about DiEM25, announce public events and convince new members to join the DSC. No votes and no internal documents shall be posted on the public channels and no sensitive discussions (e.g. revealing members’ party preferences) shall be carried out there. We recommend Meetup.com or a Facebook Page (better than a group) as ‘public’ channels, where new people may discover your DSC and learn about upcoming open meetings, and Slack, Loomio, Telegram or a mailing list as internal channels. It is crucial to ensure that everyone on the internal channels is a DiEM25 member. If you’re not sure whether someone is a DiEM25 member, ask them to privately send you a screenshot of the inside of the Member Area showing the latest votes (https://internal.diem25.org). Being a forum member is not the same as being a DiEM25 member!
To find out who the responsible person for social media is in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece or UK, check the Provisional National Committee lists at https://internal.diem25.