City Council May Restrict Access to Facebook

Council moves to restrict communication between employees and public

By Matt Baume
|  Tuesday, Sep 1, 2009  |  Updated 2:51 PM PDT
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City Council May Restrict Access to Facebook

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"A waste of public cash" is how the British Taxpayer's Alliance referred to Facebook, responding to a Portsmouth City Council finding that its 4,500 employees spent, on average, about five minutes on the site each month.

Now the council is making a grab for those five minutes per month by adding Facebook to YouTube, Twitter, and eBay on a list of banned sites.

That would buck the current trend of encouraging government participation in social networking. Because so many citizens use the Internet to communicate, there's a growing movement among advocates of open-government to interact with citizens online.

From the San Francisco Public Utilities Commmission all the way up to President Obama, government agencies are finding new ways to serve their constituents through social networking. Just last month, San Francisco annouced new public connections to government information.

And of course, shining a spotlight of transparency of government officials makes it easier to detect questionable public servants. Of course, that could be the very thing that the Portsmouth City Council is afraid of.

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