Social Media Policy and Guidelines

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Social Media Policy

Introduction

At CSU Dominguez Hills, we recognize that social media sites have become important and influential communication channels for our community. To assist in posting content and managing these sites, the university has developed a policy and guidelines for official use of social media. These apply to university faculty, staff, students and other representatives, and can be used in connection with social media accounts associated with colleges, schools, departments, programs, clubs and other university entities.

This policy requires that:

  • Officially recognized CSUDH social media accounts be approved by the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs.
  • Each social media account will have responsible administrators assigned.
  • Inappropriate, offensive, injurious and illegal content may be removed by CSUDH and the account may be modified or terminated, if warranted.
  • Best practices for social media accounts should be considered.

The use of social media has the potential to create a significant impact on organizational and professional reputations. CSU Dominguez Hills has also developed Social Media Guidelines to properly promote, represent and protect the university, as well as personal and professional reputations while using social media.

Application of Policy

Official Sites

This policy will apply to social media accounts created by university faculty, staff, students, alumni, or representatives for the official business purposes of the university, including faculty, groups, departments, programs, units, etc.

Administrators who would like their social media account to be recognized and endorsed by the university should contact the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs. The account or site will be reviewed to ensure the university’s branding and message standards are upheld.

Student organizations must be registered through CSUDH's Office of Student Life, in order to create social media accounts that will be officially recognized by the university.

All officially recognized social media accounts are publicly listed by the university here.

Exemptions

This policy will apply only to social media accounts created for the express purpose of representing CSU Dominguez Hills groups, departments, programs, entities, etc. and will not apply to private/personal social media accounts. University employees acting in an individual capacity should exercise caution to communicate clearly that they are not acting in a representative capacity, or expressing the views of the University.

Administrators and Responsibilities

The Director of University Communications and Public Affairs will be responsible for administering this policy. The current associate director of university communications and public affairs will manage the day-to-day social media issues that arise and update social media web pages administered by the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs as needed.

CSUDH employees identified as administrators of accounts are held responsible for managing and monitoring content of their officially recognized accounts. Administrators are responsible to remove content that may violate the university policies. Whenever possible, a department should appoint two individuals to act as account administrators for a social media site representing the university.

Existing University Conduct Policies

Social media users acting on behalf of the university must adhere to all CSUDH policies and procedures, including:

Social Media Disclaimer Statement

Each officially recognized CSUDH social media account will be required to link to the university’s Social Media Policy and Guidelines, as well as link to or include the CSU Dominguez Hills Social Media Disclaimer Statement:

The university welcomes the exchange of ideas about university programs, issues, events and activities on social media websites. The material posted, however, does not necessarily represent the views or policies of the university.

The university reserves the right to remove pages, posts, comments, or other content from CSUDH social media sites that contain inappropriate material or do not adhere to the university’s standards. The university may remove content for any reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems threatening, profane, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, off-topic, commercial or promotion of organizations or programs not related to or affiliated with the university, or otherwise injurious or illegal. Users are fully responsible for the content they post on any CSU Dominguez Hills social media sites.

By submitting content to any CSU Dominguez Hills social media site, users understand and acknowledge that this information is available to the public, and that CSU Dominguez Hills may use this information for internal and external promotional purposes.

Links to content or other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the organizations, entities, views or content contained therein. CSU Dominguez Hills is not responsible for the content of those external web sites. Also be aware that other participants may use posted information beyond the control of CSU Dominguez Hills. Users who do not wish to have information they have made available via these sites used, published, copied and/or reprinted, should not post on the social media sites.

University Time and Property

Employee work time, as well as university computers and other electronic equipment, are to be used for university-related business. It is appropriate to post on social media at work if your comments are related to accomplishing university-related activities. If you maintain a personal social media account or site, participate on your own time using non-CSUDH computers.

User Agreements and Contracts

Whenever a social media account is created, the social media outlet requires the account creator to agree to certain terms and conditions for use of the site by clicking “Yes” or “I accept” as part of the account creation process. These are legal contracts, and they often contain terms and conditions that create risks for the account creator and the university, for officially recognized CSUDH accounts. In some cases, these “clickwrap agreements” may need to be reviewed and approved by the CSUDH Procurement and Contracts office before CSUDH accounts can be created.

The ease of clicking “I accept” does not mean that the license agreement is without risk to the university. If you are in doubt about your authority to accept an online agreement on behalf of CSU Dominguez Hills, or question the content of an agreement, contact University Communications or the CSUDH Procurement and Contracts office for guidance.

University departments or units wishing to purchase advertising or other services from social media sites, or from any type of publication, must follow all applicable rules and policies governing both the public relations considerations and the procurement and contracting considerations related to such services.

Privacy

Internet postings should not disclose any information that is confidential or proprietary to the university, its students, alumni, faculty or staff, or to any third party that has disclosed information to the university. Please use good ethical judgment and follow university privacy policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA.

Copyrights and Trademarks

By posting content to any social media site, the poster represents that the poster owns or otherwise has all of the rights necessary to lawfully use that content or that the use of the content is permitted by fair use. Posters also agree that they will not knowingly provide misleading or false information, and that they will indemnify and hold the university harmless for any claims resulting from the content.

Copyright, fair use and financial disclosure laws should be complied with on CSUDH social media sites. Sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information, should be protected. Do not publish or report on conversations that are meant to be pre-decisional or internal to CSUDH unless given permission by management.

Electronic content should not include the CSU Dominguez Hills names, logos or seals unless permission has been granted. See existing CSUDH copyright policy and branding guidelines for additional information.

When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, or videos, citations should be included and a link to the original material should be provided, if applicable.

Social Media Guidelines

Standards of Conduct

CSU Dominguez Hills employees and representatives are expected to adhere to the same standards of conduct online as they would in the workplace. Laws, policies and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media and all other university constituents apply to online interactions and in a social media context just as they do in personal interactions. Employees are fully responsible for what they post to social media sites.

Administrators and users of official CSUDH social media accounts and sites may at any time contact University Communications for guidance and consultation.

Social Media Naming Conventions

When you name your social media channel, it is very important to establish a clear connection to the university. It is preferable that the social media account name include CSUDH, CSU Dominguez Hills, or Cal State Dominguez Hills prior to the name of your school, college, department, program, office, organization, or student organization.

If you have an existing social media account whose name does not reflect its relationship to the university, some social media platforms will allow you to change the name after the accounts are created.

Examples of CSUDH Social Media account names

LinkedIn
CSU Dominguez Hills Alumni Group

Facebook
School of Nursing at CSU Dominguez Hills (/CSUDHNurses as vanity URL)
CSU Dominguez Hills Career Center (/csudhcareercenter as vanity URL)
CSUDH Accounting Society

Twitter
CSUDHDance
CSUDHExtendedEd
CSUDHMusicDept

Guidelines for Content

Prohibited activities and content include:

  • Engaging in vulgar or abusive language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms targeting individuals or groups.
  • Using information or conducting activities that violate local, state, or federal laws and regulations.
  • Endorsement of commercial products, services, or entities.
  • Endorsement of political parties, candidates, or groups.
  • Lobbying members of Congress using CSUDH resources.

Published content is persistent in the public domain. When you are representing CSUDH in an official capacity, CSUDH may be held responsible for the content you publish on any form of user-generated media. Assume your communications are in the public domain, available for publishing or discussion in all forms of media.

When you discuss CSUDH or university-related matters, you may need to coordinate your writing with University Communications. When in doubt, please contact the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs.

If you publish content to any website outside of the CSUDH official online presence and it has something to do with subjects associated with CSUDH, consider a disclaimer such as this: "The postings are my own and do not necessarily represent positions, strategies or opinions of CSU Dominguez Hills."

Remain focused on potential and existing students, community supporters and donors, customers, existing commitments, and achieving the mission of the university. Your use of social media tools should never interfere with your primary duties, with the exception of where it is a primary duty to use these tools to do your job.

Make sure you have all of the facts before you post. It is better to verify information with a source first than to post something erroneous and have to post a correction or retraction later. Whenever possible, cite and provide links to your sources.

The university may occasionally review content posted to official CSUDH social media sites and may remove or cause the removal of any content for any lawful reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems threatening, obscene, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise injurious or illegal.

Moderating Comments

CSU Dominguez Hills encourages fans, followers, supporters and friends to share their thoughts with one another by commenting on a story, feature, tweet, or post that is of interest. To ensure that the comments are relevant and useful, the university follows these guidelines to moderate comments:

  • Comments must be relevant to a topic discussed and to the point.
  • Comments should be clean and constructive.
  • Posts that are off-topic, abusive, contain profanity, are threatening in tone or devolve into personal attacks will be deleted.
  • Excessively long comments—as determined by the site’s editor—are subject to editing or deletion.
  • Anonymous comments will not be published.
  • Anyone posting links on a social media site should identify themselves by name and where the link goes. This is to distinguish spam from legitimate opportunities for the CSUDH community.
  • CSU Dominguez Hills reserves the right to review all comments and remove comments that violate any of the conditions noted above.

Social media account administrators: When managing a social media site, it’s helpful to have clear guidelines for moderating comments. Please feel free to use the comments guidelines above to moderate comments on your site, and to post the guidelines to your website or social media account when appropriate.

User Identity

Official CSUDH Sites: If you are authorized to represent CSUDH in an official capacity on a social media site, you should refrain from posting personal opinions. Unless you are responding in an official capacity as a spokesperson on university matters, please do not claim or imply that you are speaking on behalf of the university.

Personal Sites: If you also maintain your own personal social media sites and accounts, you should avoid creating any possible confusion over whether the site is associated with CSUDH. If you identify yourself as a CSU Dominguez Hills faculty or staff member online, it should be clear that personal views and opinions expressed on your site are not those of the university and you are not acting in your capacity as a CSUDH employee.

Institutional Voice

Posts on social media sites should protect the university’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. No individual CSUDH unit should construe its social media site as representing the university as a whole. Consider this when naming pages or accounts, selecting a profile picture or icon, and selecting content to post—names, profile images, and posts should all be clearly linked to the particular department or unit rather than to the institution as a whole.

Guidelines for Faculty and Staff

Professional and Personal Social Media Venues

CSUDH employees are encouraged and permitted to contribute content on social media sites about the university, programs, work, events, etc. However, because employees are representatives of CSU Dominguez Hills, they are asked to observe the university’s Social Media Policy and Guidelines.

Faculty and staff are not allowed to create social media sites that claim, imply or pretend to be official representative sites of the university unless authorized to administer a site. Please contact University Communications to set up an official CSUDH social media site.

Be aware of your CSUDH association in online social networks. If you identify yourself as an employee of CSUDH or your CSUDH association is known to the general public, ensure your profile and related content (even if it is of a personal and not an official nature) is consistent with how you wish to present yourself as a CSUDH professional, appropriate with the public trust associated with your position, and conforms to ethical standards or codes of conduct. Have no expectation
of privacy.

Faculty and staff, by virtue of their position in the university, must consider whether personal thoughts they publish, even in clearly personal venues, may be misunderstood as expressing CSUDH positions. They should assume that both internal and external audiences will read what is written. A public blog is not the place to communicate CSUDH policies to employees. Assume your thoughts are in the public domain and can be published or discussed in all forms of media.
 
Faculty are also encouraged to familiarize themselves with the proposed guidelines suggested by the Facebook group, Faculty Ethics on Facebook, and to engage in discussions concerning the ethical use of social media sites in an academic setting.

Additional Resources and Tools

Additional university guidelines and policies that apply to CSU Dominguez Hills communications are available at these websites:

Brand and Visual Identity

Web Standards

Editorial Guidelines

Media Policy [PDF]

Accessibility Statements