Foggy Bottom's future social-media approach? Hold that tweet

Word has it that the U.S. State Department is drafting new rules that would involve extensive review of tweets and blogs prior to their publication.

Illustration by Edward Moyer/CNET

There's deliberative. There's slow. And then there's the U.S. State Department, which is reportedly considering a policy that would hold up employee tweets from going live for a couple of days as they went through official review and approval.

The State Department indirectly responded to leaks about the draft proposal, which was first reported by the blog Diplopundit, in an e-mail comment to CNET from spokesman Mark Toner.

Provisions in the Department's Foreign Affairs Manual are constantly under review. We are in the process of updating the regulations governing publication -- both traditional and digital -- to recognize the dynamic and decentralized nature of the 21st century information environment. The updates are still in progress and not final. They will be public, like all of our regulations, when they are final.

That doesn't shed much light, but it's not a denial either. If the reported draft indeed becomes policy, State Department personnel would be subject to new vetting controls governing what they might say or write, and the publishing process would be drastically slowed down. According to Diplopundit, the proposed new rules would require the following:

  • Two working days for clearance on social-media postings
  • Five working days for blog posts
  • Five working days for speeches, live events notes, talking points
  • Ten working days for articles (including online publications)
  • Thirty working days for lengthy publications or books

The policy revision was described as a response to the embarrassment the State Department suffered after former foreign service officer Peter Van Buren published a book that harshly criticized U.S. reconstruction work in Iraq.

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