If you have a Facebook account, chances are you are guilty of browsing its endless feed of friends and photos while at work. Even though Facebook usage at work is rather ubiquitous, the following serves as a precautionary tale for local government officials who might be tempted to use the popular social media network for personal reasons during public time.
San Bernardino City Councilman Benito Barrios recently came under fire for posting a gun sale to Facebook while in a city council meeting. During a presentation on the city’s charter, Barrios listed a pistol and accessories for $2,100.
Per the nature of social media, the reaction was immediate.
During the meeting and soon after, citizens went to Facebook and Twitter to express their disapproval of the councilman’s actions.One person commented, “Why are you posting stuff like this while you are in a city counsel meeting that [is] being televise[d],” while another remarked, “They shouldn’t be distracted by outside media.”
“One of my veteran friends texted me,” Barrios said to the San Bernardino County Sun. “This was during the presentations being given. So it took me 30, 40 seconds in between presentations. … The perception is very bad for the people, and I’m aware of that. It’ll probably never happen again.”
Barrios faces no legal trouble for advertising the gun on Facebook, as the act of posting the ad is not illegal so long as the sale of the gun complies with state and federal law. However, Barrios’ story serves as a great reminder to local government officials that no matter how good one’s intentions…