Social Media Guidelines

As a leading communications and information technology company, we work tirelessly to make our customers‘ lives easier in the long term. This is what we stand for: We won't stop until everyone is connected. As employees, we have a special responsibility – not only are we shaping the digital world through our networks, but in the way we operate in the digital space, which is a contribution to our coexistence.

As Telekom, we stand for values such as diversity, respect, appreciation, tolerance, open-mindedness, and intercultural cooperation. We position ourselves against any kind of discrimination and populism. Social media allows us to express ourselves and help shape the world. The more people join, the better; but makes it increasingly complex. When people meet, ideas, experiences and feelings come together.

Both inside and outside the company, we want to ensure respectful and appreciative interaction. This also applies to our culture of communication. Telekom is taking a clear stance: We have positioned ourselves in the external media with our “No Hate Speech” campaign. The discourse on social media platforms has become harsher in some places. Only a few colleagues are crossing boundaries. However, derogatory or insulting comments and the spreading of untruths impede objective discussions and constructive cooperation in the groups used. Violations of these principles will be consistently investigated in order to maintain peace in the company and a culture of open and respectful discussions, but also to protect the rights of others and the corporate interests of Deutsche Telekom. For this reason, the Guidelines will be updated as of August 19, 2021.

In this way, we create transparency and security for all employees whilst communicating on social media platforms. These guidelines apply to both internal and external Telekom social media platforms. In addition, they apply to the privately used social media accounts of employees if posts published have a reference to Telekom. The principles also have a practical function. They help protect us from any damage. After all, there are numerous stumbling blocks in the digital space that need to be considered.

1. We value debate.

For communication on social media platforms, the focus is on: 

  • Attitude, without division 
  • Participation, instead of exclusion 
  • Competence, instead of hasty reactions 

Open, constructive and critical contributions are part of our culture of discussion. We value the diversity of opinions both internally and externally. Even if things can get heated, the respect for human dignity and personal rights, our company peace, our guidelines, the Code of Conduct and the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) remain our most important benchmarks. This helps to prevent damage to Telekom’s reputation and contributes to a productive exchange.

Employees are also called upon to contribute to respectful and unbiased interaction through the nature and content of their comments. Depending on the situation, listening may be better than responding directly. Sometimes a level-headed response or even a call for moderation may be necessary in certain situations.

2. We show no tolerance for bullying, stalking, and radicalism.

We use digital media to build relationships. Therefore, we have no tolerance for those who seek to destroy relationships. We do not accept any activity that excludes, discriminates, threatens, or glorifies violence. By this we mean in particular 

  • Bullying and stalking 
  • Dissemination of extremist ideas
  • Dissemination of content from unconstitutional organizations and depictions of violence 
  • Calls for unlawful acts 
  • Calls for actions that are a threat to life or other legal assets 
  • Dissemination of conspiracy ideologies and untruths.

3. To us the law also applies both on the net and further afield. 

Of course, freedom of speech which is anchored in constitutional law also applies to statements in the digital space. However, this is not exclusive to social media – it ends when the rights of other people or companies are violated. The limits of freedom of speech are – in a punishable manner – exceeded in the case of insulting and derogatory statements towards or in relation to other people. Statements that are directed against a national, religious or ethnic group and incite hatred or violence are also punishable.

Further limits result from the terms of use of the different platforms or from agreements concluded in Telekom. These must be taken into account in equal measure.

4. We show who we are and who we work for.

 For outsiders, it is difficult to distinguish whether you are speaking as a Telekom employee or as a private individual. This is because the digital space has no clear boundaries. If you are recognizably a Telekom employee on external platforms, you are always also acting as an “ambassador for the company”. Your posts, therefore, also shape Deutsche Telekom‘s public image. Please always be aware of this. In case of doubt, these posts must be marked as advertising. As soon as you use a social media account to fulfill professional tasks, it requires an imprint. This also applies to private accounts or personal profiles. Only if the latter are used purely privately is an imprint dispensable. We urge you to observe the rules. These can be found under the link listed at the end of the document. In the event that you make statements about Telekom, Telekom products or competitor products as a private individual, it is advisable to at least make a reference to the company affiliation so that the impression of covert advertising is not created. In addition, it is advisable to mark the contribution as a private opinion in order to avoid the impression that you are speaking on behalf of Telekom. In general, care should be taken when making statements about competitors and their products. Competitors should not be disparaged under any circumstances. Comparative advertising, price advertising or advertising with test results should only be made after consulting the legal department responsible for competition law (LWU Legal Service Competition/Copyright Law).

5. We protect data and information.

We support an open exchange of knowledge. However, there are limits to this when it comes to the personal data of our customers, or sensitive information, such as company and business secrets, which require special protection. Confidential information has no place in external social media, not even in closed user groups, and on internal platforms only after explicit approval by the application. Internal information also does not belong in the public domain. That’s what applications like YAM UNITED are for. If you are not sure whether you are allowed to publish information or data, or whether an application may be used for sharing information and data at all, you should not publish it.

6. We protect our brands.

Deutsche Telekom is one of the most valuable brands in the world. Please take care to reproduce our brands (especially logos and the color magenta) correctly and without alteration. For example, you must not create your own designs using components of our brands.

7. We only use content for which we have the usage rights, or which can be used freely.

Creative content is protected by copyright. Their use requires the consent of the rights holder (license). Exceptions are only possible within narrow limits. Therefore, hands-off the re-upload of foreign content! Even downloading third-party content is risky under copyright law. Re-uploading is only permitted with the consent of the copyright holder. The use of brands and trademarks of other companies – for example, their names, their product brands or logos – must be done just as carefully and cautiously. The use of other people‘s marks always has significance under trademark law and attracts the attention of the rights holder. Just as we do not want our trademarks to be used by third parties without permission, it is to be feared that the other company will take legal action against the use of its trademarks. Please note that often “fictitious signs” – for example from movies – are also registered as trademarks and unauthorized uses will be pursued vigorously by the rights holders. Photos of people are a special case. In addition to the photographer‘s consent, you must usually obtain the consent of the persons visible in the photo.

8. Be careful when integrating thirdparty content (by sharing, linking, framing, embedding, liking, reposting, retweeting or similar).

Before integrating third-party content, always ask yourself whether you want to be associated with the content in question at all. The same applies to content about whose truthfulness or authenticity you doubt. If you embed potentially illegal content and contributions, you also run the risk of being held responsible for the violation as the “distributor”. Thus, even embedding protected content can be a copyright violation. It does not matter whether it is only used internally (e.g. YAM), externally (e.g. Facebook), privately or for business.

9. Violations do not remain without consequences.

Content that violates laws or the aforementioned principles and/or is likely to disturb the peace of the company or damage Telekom’s reputation when it becomes known, may have consequences under labor/criminal law and civil law (damages). In such cases, content may also be deleted. As a company, we report violations under criminal law and prosecute them under labor law. In addition, employees who violate individual points or the spirit of the guidelines may be temporarily or permanently excluded from using and participating in Deutsche Telekom social media platforms. It is also expressly reserved to delete content or make it inaccessible. A committee consisting of Human Resources, Corporate Communications, Compliance and the Group Works Council shall decide on such measures.