Brand Standards: Social Media

Guidelines

Refer to these guides for help making appropriate decisions when developing or managing social media initiatives for the university.

Protect Privacy and Confidentiality

Avoid exposing the personal information of students, faculty, and staff, as well as the university’s proprietary information. Use good judgment about content and respect privacy laws, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Do not include confidential information about the university, its staff, or its students in materials posted on social media sites. (Examples include information about a student’s grades or performance, admission status, GPA, Social Security number, and any other information that would be covered by FERPA; personally identifiable health information such as medical conditions or injuries or health care sought or received; and other private personal information that the person has not consented to have published).

The university will not ask for, nor should an individual send, credit card or payment information, classified information, privileged information, private information, or information subject to non-disclosure agreements via any social network internet communication service.

Social media users must also be aware of NCAA rules governing interactions between the institution and its employees and prospective student-athletes. All employees should refrain from contacting (tweeting, messaging) or commenting on prospective student-athletes prior to them signing a National Letter of Intent, unless there is a legitimate non-athletic purpose. Always check with USU Athletics compliance officials before posting anything that may violate these rules.

Respect Copyrights

Follow copyright and fair use laws to the letter. Sharing posts containing photo and video is generally fine, but downloading someone else’s photo or video and sharing it on your platform is generally not, unless you have permission. Always get written permission to use someone else’s photo or design, even when the circumstance does not require a signed copyright release form. Permission can be granted in a direct message, in the comments on a post, or by using USU’s copyright and model release forms.

By posting content to any social media site, the poster represents that the university 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.

When using or posting online material that includes direct or paraphrased quotes, thoughts, ideas, photos, artwork, or videos, always cite the source and link to the original material.

Free Speech

While USU is committed to the protection of free speech, and it does not regularly review content posted to social media accounts created on behalf of USU, it shall have the right to do so. With respect to any account maintained in the name of the university, it may remove or cause the removal of any content for any lawful reason, including but not limited to, content that it deems a true threat, obscene, defamatory, a violation of intellectual property rights or privacy laws, or otherwise unlawful.

Fundraising

While Utah State University supports fundraising efforts by its colleges, clubs, and other campus entities, the university’s official social media accounts will only post authorized USU fundraisers that have been approved through University Advancement and are organized through Aggie Funded. Colleges, departments, and other campus programs are to work with their deans and USU Advancement for approval before supporting or launching fundraisers of their own. Furthermore, USU will review each fundraising request on a case-by-case basis to ensure it aligns with university communications goals and messaging. Note that not all USU fundraising requests will be posted by central USU social media accounts.

Follow Platform Rules

Know and follow the rules of social media platform(s) you are using.

Defer During a Crisis

During a crisis, the crisis communications team will use USU’s official social media accounts to communicate critical information in a timely and accurate manner. You can help protect the safety of our community and minimize misinformation. Please limit your social media activity to amplifying the messages posted to the main USU Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. Please do not modify our messages when you share them, or provide commentary. If you see misinformation being spread, please email social@usu.edu. Please direct all media inquiries during a crisis to University Marketing and Communications.

Save Personal Opinions for Personal Pages

When you post for a USU social media account, you are representing the university. Do not use a USU-affiliated account to promote a personal political interest. USU’s name or marks may not be used to endorse any personal opinion, product, private business, potential bill or law, or political candidate. The name of the university should not be connected with a political endorsement in any way, except for the limited purpose of identifying USU as your employer on your personal social media account. (USU Policy 333)