Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy

Sponsor:

Office of Communications and Marketing

Contact:

Assistant Vice President for Communications and Marketing

Category:

Communications and Marketing

Number:

500.007

Effective Date:

07/01/2022

Implementation History:

First implemented in 2022.

Keywords:

Social media

Background Information:

Purpose

To create clear, shared expectations for the acceptable use of social media by faculty and staff of the State University of New York Empire State College. Its intent is to permit a high degree of freedom for individuals to use social communication platforms for the benefit of the college while ensuring appropriate protections for the college’s overall brand, image, and reputation. This policy should be regularly reviewed and updated given the ever-changing number of social media platforms, associated best practices, and avenues of engagement.

Definitions

Social Media: Internet or mobile digital tools and systems that are available to the general public and that are used to share and/or receive information or conversation. The college maintains active, official social media accounts on the following platforms, subject to future additions or revisions:

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn
  • TikTok
  • Pinterest
  • YouTube

Statements

SUNY Empire State College encourages the appropriate use of social media as a method for communicating ideas and information to the public and for receiving responses and commentary from the public in support of the educational mission of the college.

Scope:

Compliance with this policy is necessary for collaboration and recognition by the Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) as well as SUNY Empire social media leadership, which includes the Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing, the Director of Communications, and the Social Media Manager. Its provisions apply to all authorized social media accounts, accounts utilizing the SUNY Empire name, logo, and or torch-in-shield trademark, an official college insignia representing a university unit, program or organization, and/or the college mascot, and any site created for the purpose of conducting official business.

Faculty & Staff Social Media Usage:

Faculty and staff will refrain from posting any identifying information or student work subject to Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) restrictions.

Members of the college community are encouraged to remember that social media activities are, by definition, visible to others and may be shared in unpredictable ways with unintended audiences. In cases where personal and professional boundaries are blurred, college employees are encouraged to exercise discretion.

Do not post confidential or proprietary information about SUNY Empire, its students, its alumni, or your fellow employees. Use good ethical judgment and follow university policies and federal requirements, such as the SUNY Information Security Policy 6900 and FERPA.

Actions or statements over social media with a connection to state employment may be governed by SUNY policy and State Policies.

Personal use of social media on personal time is not governed by this policy. Personal use of social media on state time is governed by the New York State Public Officers Law and other federal, state, and local laws; SUNY Human Resources policies; and the SUNY Empire Computer Use policy. The substance of these policies is that personal use of social media should be reserved for personal time.

Official SUNY Empire Social Media Channel Usage:

Content and information released on social media is equivalent in stature to content and information released to the press and the public in any other format. It is therefore subject to review, revision, or removal at the request of the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Content and information released to the public over social media should be accurate and comply with all applicable laws (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, privacy statutes, accessibility standards, and defamation law) and the policies of SUNY Empire and the SUNY System.

On social media platforms that allow only one official presence per institution, the Office of Communications and Marketing will be the campus office charged with ownership and maintenance of the college's presence.

The Office of Communications and Marketing may choose to allow administrative access to social media platforms to other employees as needed, but OCM remains the owner of these platforms and retains responsibility.

The Office of Communications and Marketing utilizes college social media platforms directly under circumstances related to its communications function, including news, emergency, weather, community relations, and similar matters.

The use of social media will adhere to SUNY Empire graphic standards, writing and usage guide, and web standards, which collectively govern proper use of the college logo, seal, name, tag line, and other elements of the college's branding.

Usage of social media is governed by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides a safe harbor for Internet Service Providers and Websites for activity that takes place on said sites, provided that the site or domain takes certain actions when legally required.

SUNY Empire social media accounts and administrators are prohibited from:

  • Posting content that violates, city, state, or federal laws and regulations.
  • Commenting on or posting anything related to existing or potential legal matters or litigation without appropriate approval.
  • Using the college’s brand or name to endorse any view, product, private business, particular religious or other belief system (i.e., numerology, astrology), cause, or political candidate.
  • Representing personal opinions as college-endorsed views or policies.
  • Sharing content that is profane, violates copyrights, or does not properly credit the original content source.

Interacting with Official SUNY Empire Social Media Channels:

By posting content to any SUNY Empire social media page, users understand and acknowledge that this information is available to the public, and that other participants may use posted information beyond the control of the college. Users who do not wish to have information that they have made available via these sites used, published, copied and/or reprinted, should not post on SUNY Empire’s social media pages.

The college reserves the right to submit requests to social media publishers to have any account terminated that appears to be representing the college without authorization. No use of our copyrighted material including logos is allowed unless directly authorized by the Office of Communications and Marketing.

SUNY Empire may review content posted to its official social media pages. Comments and dialogue about SUNY Empire’s social media content are welcome and encouraged. However, the college may filter or hide content that:

  • Includes profanity or is obscene (profanity filters employed as provided by, and in accordance with, platform standards).
  • Constitutes a true threat or unlawful harassment.
  • Violates federal, state, or local laws, or college rules or policies.
  • Intentionally misleads, is factually erroneous, or libelous.
  • Infringes on the confidentiality, dignity, or privacy of any party.
  • Sells, solicits, or advertises products/services that are not affiliated with SUNY Empire.
  • Violates the use policies promulgated by the applicable social media provider.

The college will act to protect its intellectual property, including official marks and copyrighted material, from misuse or abuse. In addition, the college will act to prevent any person or group from misrepresenting their affiliation to the college.

 

Applicable Legislation and Regulations

Related References, Policies, Procedures, Forms and Appendices