As we speak, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s (D-NY) Instagram followers obtained an surprising message from the newly elected congresswoman — she created a brand new Instagram account for official authorities enterprise.
Ocasio-Cortez’s announcement got here on her private Instagram account, @ocasio2018, on Thursday by means of an Insta-story. “Home Guidelines say I can’t publish IG tales from my private account whereas I’m in my workplace,” she wrote on a screenshot from her new official account. “So I’ll publish on-the-job IG tales from @repocasiocortez.”
This isn’t the primary official account she’s created since she took her oath of workplace. Ocasio-Cortez additionally has a brand new Twitter account (@RepOcasioCortez) that was created final week for official authorities enterprise.
She’s not the one lawmaker juggling a number of accounts. Members of Congress have been sworn into workplace on January third and plenty of freshman have already arrange new social media accounts, beginning recent and rebuilding the huge followings they created on the marketing campaign path. These official accounts should clearly state of their bios that the particular person it represents is a member of Congress, in response to the longstanding pointers within the Members’ Congressional Handbook. Most of the social media darlings from the previous election, like Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), have tweeted out messages citing these ethics guidelines, asking for followers to observe them to new accounts as they embark on their first 12 months below the Capitol dome.
The Members’ Congressional Handbook doesn’t explicitly say that lawmakers are required to make new accounts, however generally it’s simpler to separate their authorities sources and private ones so as to keep away from ethics violations. The foundations do prohibit lawmakers from utilizing any of their newfound authorities sources to keep up their private accounts, whether or not that be their new employees or workplace funds.
You’ll be able to sometimes inform the excellence between an official and private congressional account by the deal with. A member’s title like “Rep.” or “Sen.” normally sits earlier than their identify on the government-maintained account. For instance, Sen. Ben Sasse’s (R-NE) private account is simply his identify, @bensasse, and his official account is @SenSasse. Congressional employees members are solely allowed to publish onto the official account, which is strictly for presidency enterprise. Something having to do with re-election or grassroots lobbying should keep on the non-public accounts.
Up to now, Reps. Ocasio-Cortez and Crenshaw haven’t suffered an excessive amount of below the principles. Crenshaw’s official congressional Twitter account has already acquired about half of his previously 243,000 followers. Ocasio-Cortez nonetheless posts from her private account to over 2 million followers, @AOC, and appears to let her employees deal with the content material on her official one (@RepAOC) with simply over 40,000 followers. Her new Instagram was launched right now and already has over 66,000 followers, a fraction of the 1.7 million on her private account.
Fb and Twitter have been commonplace platforms for politicians seeking to construct followings, however all through the previous few months, lawmakers have made headlines for his or her use of Instagram. Most lawmakers have an official Instagram account, however the bulk of the viral content material and memes are generated from their private accounts. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) just lately cracked open a beer along with her husband on her private account, however sticks to photographs with constituents and coverage speak on her official one. Beto O’Rourke prompted a stir by interviewing his dental hygienist on his private account, but when he have been nonetheless within the Home, he’d be anticipated to maintain it off of his authorities web page.
However in relation to the presence congressional committees have on social media, there’s little steering for members and their employees. The Home Administration says that any committee web site or social media account “have to be recognizably by-product or consultant of the identify of the Committee sponsoring the Web site,” and that the names of those pages can’t be misleading, slogans, or indicate that the physique endorses any industrial merchandise.
These guidelines have been complicated for some individuals on Twitter final week after our bodies just like the Home Science Committee switched up their handles. What was beforehand @HouseScience, was modified by Republican employees to @HouseScienceGOP.
Followers of the account, who anticipated it to signify all the committee, have been tweeting out messages suggesting that the Republicans had stolen the account or refused handy it over to the Democrats, who at the moment are within the majority. “The outgoing committee switched the identify of the account as a substitute of handing it over to the Dems, taking all of the followers with them,” one user wrote. However that wasn’t the case. The Republicans had all the time owned the account in query, however solely modified the identify to correctly establish their new standing because the minority, in response to a Republican spokesperson for the committee.
If the Home Administration guidelines don’t present steering, committees make their very own guidelines, and as long as each events are in settlement, Twitter helps make any modifications essential as new congressional periods start.