To: Microsoft Employees

From: Satya Nadella, CEO

Subject: Compliance with Social Media Laws and Regulations for Washington State

Date: 30 June 2017


You have the right to privacy regarding your social media accounts. I want to take a moment to clarify what we, as a company, can and cannot do regarding your private social media accounts.

There have been concerns recently about employers possibly violating the right to privacy of employees in attempts to ensure compliance with company policies and safeguard intellectual property. However, as a resident of Washington state you are protected by RCW 49.44.200, a law that restricts what employers can and cannot do regarding access of your personal social networking accounts.

Disclosing login information

I want to state forcefully that at no time should a member of the Microsoft team ever ask you to disclose your login information to personal accounts.  Management cannot ask you to login in their presence to gain access to your accounts, nor can we ask you to add contacts to your social media accounts.

The only time we can legally access content from your private accounts is if we are investigating a violation of federal or state laws, regulations or company policies regarding employee misconduct such as harassment or transferring of intellectual property from company accounts to personal ones. State law still mandates that we cannot ask for your login information, only the content pertinent to ongoing investigations.

Employer-provided communication

While the law protects your private information, I want to stress that this law does not apply to employer provided communication outlets and devices.  This includes our intranet, our internal communication software, or any devices such as cell phones, tablets and computers provided by the company.  It also includes the company owned social media accounts.

I would urge anyone using company owned devices to avoid logging into personal social media accounts to ensure that you do not inadvertently provide the company with your login information.

I want to stress that we respect your right to conduct yourself as you see fit both online and offline.  We value you as a member of the Microsoft family.  I want every one of you to feel confident knowing that we as a company will never ask you to provide us unfiltered access to your private lives.

If you have any questions at all regarding the social media policy, or state laws regarding the right to privacy, I urge you to contact the human resources department.  You may also reach out to colleagues and direct supervisors if that makes you more comfortable.

Thank you for all that you have done to make our company great, and for all that you will do as we move into the future.

Warm regards,


Satya Nadella

Chief Executive Officer

Microsoft Corporation