We recognize and respect the right of our team members to express themselves, including via Social Media communication. The purpose of this policy is to provide guidance on the use of internal and external Social Media and to clarify our expectations where personal use of Social Media involves the Company.
Social Media includes any Company-hosted or non-Company-hosted online tools used to share content and profiles, such as personal web pages, message boards, networks, communities, and social networking websites, including, but not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, Digg, Flickr, Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, Toyota Chatter, and web blogs. This is a constantly evolving area; therefore, the lack of explicit reference to a specific site or type of Social Media does not limit the application of this policy.
A. Company-Related Content
Team members are welcome to talk about the Company on their personal Social Media accounts, including sharing and commenting on Company news and information that is not proprietary in nature. Team members are also welcome to share, repost and retweet news and updates from official Company sites, including Company Social Media pages and online newsrooms at pressroom.toyota.com.
Team members are responsible for ensuring all of their personal communications, including Social Media, comply with applicable laws and Company policies. Failure to do so may result in corrective action, up to and including termination.
While team members are welcome to talk about the Company on Social Media, they may not represent that they are speaking on behalf of the Company. The following are a few examples of acceptable and unacceptable posts:
- “Just got the new Camry and passed our old one down to my son. #CamryFamily”
- “CNN is calling our new fuel cell model the car of the future. Proud to be a part of such an innovative company.”
- “I just participated in Habitat for Humanity with Team Toyota. Had a great time, did great work!”
B. Disclosing Relationship With the Company
- “On behalf of Toyota, I am proud to announce that the Company’s overall sales have increased this year.”
- “You heard it first here: Toyota will announce next week plans to open new manufacturing facilities in North America.”
- “As a representative of Toyota, I can say we’re excited to move to Texas!”
1. Representing Relationship Accurately
When discussing the Company’s products, services or sales, or those of competitors, team members must clearly disclose their relationship with the Company. Being honest about one’s employment with the Company is the right thing to do both legally and to maintain transparency.
- “Maybe it’s just because I work at Toyota, but I think our new Camry commercials are hilarious.”
- Toyota was just named one of the most innovative companies. I’m proud to be a part of this great team!”
C. Statements and Claims about Toyota Products and Services
2. Disclaiming Personal Views
To make sure consumers do not confuse a team member’s statements for those of the Company, team members should also make clear that their views are personal and do not represent the views of the Company. For example, team members might use language such as, “I work for Toyota but views and opinions expressed are my own” or “I work for Toyota but these are my own personal opinions.”
On Toyota-hosted Social Media platforms (e.g., Chatter, Confluence, Lync, etc.), a team member’s relationship to the Company is implied, and explicit disclosure is not required. Team members should still be clear that they are expressing their own personal views and should not speak on behalf of the Company unless authorized to do so.
Team members should be respectful when discussing the Company’s customers and the products or services we provide to them. Team members should also be respectful when discussing a competitor’s products and services.
Do: “I am really enjoying driving my new Camry!”
Do Not: “My cousin just bought a new Camry, a huge mistake. The new design is horrible. And when I learned the price he paid, I knew the dealer had ripped him off.”
Do Not: “I am really enjoying driving my new Camry. It is so much better than the [competitor name] junk I used to drive.”
Team members should ensure that their comments about Toyota’s or a competitor’s products or services are true and not misleading or deceptive in any way. Team members should also be clear that they are expressing a personal opinion with statements like, “I think” or “I believe.”
3. Truth in Advertising Rules: When making any claim or representation on non-Toyota-hosted Social Media sites regarding Toyota-related products or services, the following rules must be followed:
- Team members must disclose their employment with Toyota;
- The post must be true and not misleading or deceptive in any way;
- The post must have proof that the customer will experience what is being claimed; and
- The post must describe what the reader should expect to, and will, experience.
Opinions and truthful claims are encouraged:
- “I love my Corolla. Best car I’ve ever had!”
- “Road trip with the family and we even had room for the dog! Toyota Sienna for the win.”
Potentially misleading claims are prohibited. Team members should ensure their statements are accurate.
D. Using Toyota Brands
- Discuss pricing discounts, fuel-economy performance, or data regarding emissions, acceleration or braking that has not been approved by Company management.
- Make financial offers of any kind or any statements about who could qualify for financing.
- Offer “freebies” or underestimate costs of buying or maintaining a Toyota, Lexus or Scion.
- Discuss pricing of our vehicles or a competitor’s vehicles.
1. Brand Names in Personal Profile Names
The use of Toyota brand names (Toyota, Scion, Lexus, TFS, Prius, Camry, TRD, etc.) in personal Social Media profile names is prohibited. For example, a team member named Tom Smith from Toyota PR cannot use the Twitter handle, @ToyotaPR or @Tom_at_ToyotaPR.
2. Using Toyota Logos and Trademarks
Team members may not use Toyota’s proprietary type fonts, logos or trademarks for commercial purposes, or in any way not related to their employment in their personal Social Media. However, team members are welcome to refer to Toyota trademarks in plain text to accurately identify a product, e.g. “2015 Toyota Camry,” that is discussed in the content of their online posts.
Toyota logos and trademarks may not be used in the following ways:
- In a manner that would mislead or confuse the public regarding the official nature of the communication (for example, indicating that a post was created by Toyota, when it was not);
- To intentionally damage the Company’s products or services (for example, to release Toyota’s intellectual property strategies, processes and technologies); or
- For personal commercial gain (for example, to advertise or sell products and/or services not officially affiliated with Toyota or through unofficial channels).
E. Trade Secrets and Confidential and Proprietary Information
Team members may use Toyota trademarks or logos for non-commercial purposes if they wish to engage in protected activities related to wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment.
The Company recognizes its team members’ rights to express their views and welcomes team members to share their personal experiences about the brand. However, team members may not disclose private, trade secret, confidential, proprietary, attorney-client privileged or legally protected information of the Company or of others, including Toyota customers, suppliers, vendors, and/or service providers without prior authorization from the Toyota information owners. Any customer information attained as a result of working for Toyota may not be disclosed.
This applies to both internal and external Social Media platforms.
Team members should understand that generally all internal product developments and other future plans being developed for a later release, including related financial information, are confidential and should not be disclosed without understanding who would have access and obtaining prior authorization from the Toyota information owners, including, but not limited to, the following examples:
- Information shared or prepared for Company business meetings.
- In some cases where the nature of such a meeting is confidential, the meeting itself or attendees may also be confidential.
F. Photos Videos and Recordings In the Workplace
The protection of trade secret and confidential information is critical to the Company’s business objectives. Sharing this information could be damaging to the Company, and could result in costly legal actions, fines, and antitrust and regulatory violations. Questions as to what may or may not be trade secret or confidential information that should not be disclosed should be directed to Human Resources.
1. Workplace Surroundings
G. Responding to Requests
When posting workplace photos, ensure there is no trade secret, confidential or proprietary information visible, including, but not limited to, customer data, computer screens, white board diagrams, meeting presentations, unreleased products or parts, assembly layouts, evaluation tests, prototype parts, etc.
2. Protecting Customer Information
Customer information is private and protected. Under no circumstances should a team member post photos of customers taken during the course and scope of his/her own employment on his/her own personal sites or posts.
The Company has dedicated spokespeople who are authorized to speak on behalf of the Company. Team members who are not designated spokespeople must not speak on behalf of the Company. Team members should remember that statements relating to the Company’s products, services or sales, or those of a competitor, must adhere to Truth in Advertising standards (see Section C.3.).
H. Customer Service Issues
Customers may occasionally reach out to team members on Social Media with questions or concerns. The Company has specific legal obligations regarding customer privacy and customer data, and various customer relations departments are specifically trained to comply with these laws and policies.
If a team member receives questions or concerns related to product or service issues, safety or anything that could potentially harm the Company’s reputation, he/she should not attempt to resolve the customer issue him/herself, but should instead direct the customer to the appropriate Customer Relations Department at the following numbers:
- Toyota (800) 331-4331
- Scion (866) 707-2466
- Lexus (800)-255-3987
- TFS (800)-874-8822
- “I can’t respond on behalf of Toyota, but let me direct you to someone who can help you…”
I. Media Inquiries
If a customer raises a safety concern or issue, in addition to referring the customer to the appropriate Customer Relations Department, the team member should also contact Customer Relations and provide any customer contact information that was used when the concern came to the team member’s attention.
Unless explicitly authorized by the Company, team members are prohibited from answering media inquiries on behalf of Toyota and/or an affiliated company. If a reporter, blogger, writer, spokesperson or other media representative contacts a team member with an inquiry, the team member should direct such an inquiry to the Company’s Corporate Communications Department or the appropriate media contact listed at http://toyotanews.pressroom.toyota.com/contacts/.
J. Sales Leads
Similar to customer service issues, prospective customers may occasionally reach out to team members on Social Media with the intention of purchasing a vehicle. The Company has a well-defined process for ensuring the fair distribution of sales leads to dealers, where allowed by law. It is important that this process be followed. If a team member receives an inquiry of this nature, he/she should direct the potential customer to the appropriate Customer Relations Department at the following numbers:
K. No Expectation of Privacy
- Toyota (800) 331-4331
- Scion (866) 707-2466
- Lexus (800) 255-3987
- TFS (800) 874-8822
The Internet is not anonymous, nor does it forget.
L. Appropriate Conduct
By its nature, Social Media activities are typically public. Team members should assume that their Social Media activity may be viewed by anyone, including their relatives, friends, co-workers, supervisors, subordinates, management, Toyota competitors, customers, and others.
Furthermore, there should be no expectation of privacy while using any Toyota-owned technology resources, including equipment, networks and websites, as Company-owned technology resources are subject to monitoring, with or without notice.
In addition, the Company reserves the right to shut down any Company-based online platform/tool or to delete any content that is not consistent with the purpose of the Company-based online platform/tool or that does not comply with this policy or other policy at any time and at its own discretion.
When engaging in Social Media activities, team members are reminded to follow the Toyota Way values. This includes refraining from discriminatory or harassing conduct or threats of violence on Social Media.
M. Personal Liability
Even the use of personal devices to access Social Media on personal time may constitute a violation of this policy if it involves threats of violence, malicious acts or intimidation, acts of harassment, retaliation, or discrimination based on any status protected by the Company’s policies or applicable law. All of the Company’s policies continue to apply when a team member’s Social Media use relates to the Company.
Similar to other written and verbal communications, team members are personally responsible and personally liable for their Social Media posts and should be aware of applicable laws, including, but not limited to, those regarding defamation, harassment, retaliation, obscenity, trade secrets, patents, trademarks, copyright, and invasion of privacy. The Company is not responsible or liable for any losses or damages claimed or incurred due to any postings by team members.
N. Policy Violations
Team members who become aware of Social Media conduct or activity that may be inconsistent with this policy are encouraged to report such conduct immediately by contacting their manager/supervisor, Human Resources, or the Ethics and Compliance Helpline at 1-888-MAP-9119. Where it is determined that there is a violation of this policy, even if the activity occurred on a personal device or during personal time, the Company may impose corrective action, up to and including termination, or any other appropriate action. Any team member who retaliates against another team member for reporting a possible violation or cooperating in an investigation will be subject to corrective action, up to and including termination.
O. Social Media at Work
1. Social Media During Work Hours
Unless a team member’s role explicitly states so, participating in Social Media is not a required part of a team member’s job at the Company. Team members are expected to ensure that any non-Toyota Social Media activity does not impede the ability to effectively do their job or impede Company systems.
2. Collaboration Through Groups
To ensure the security of Company proprietary information, team members are prohibited from using non-Toyota-hosted Social Media for work-related collaboration; this includes the creation of Facebook Groups or chat groups on non-Toyota-hosted sites. Instead, team members are encouraged to use Company-approved technologies and internal Social Media platforms, such as Chatter, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Lync or Confluence, to collaborate on business projects.
Team members and hiring managers involved in the selection process may not contact candidates through the Internet and/or Social Media—or engage a third party to do so on their behalf—except in specific collaboration with, and as authorized by, HR recruiting. Likewise, team members and hiring managers involved in the selection process should not search for information on the Internet about applicants and should not request or demand access to candidates’ Social Media or other accounts.
The following related policies may also be applicable to personal use Social Media activities: