Tufts University recognizes the importance and benefits of communicating through social media. Social media is a powerful vehicle through which Tufts may disseminate relevant news to its community, listen to voices and perceptions of Tufts, connect with our audiences online, and build goodwill. Social networks and other online media are great tools for engagement and two-way communication, but there is the potential for significant risks associated with inappropriate use. Existing legal responsibilities and university policies remain in place when Tufts employees use social media.
This policy ONLY applies to Tufts students, faculty and staff who are authorized to speak on behalf of the university through social media. This includes anyone managing or contributing to a social media channel on behalf of a school, academic department, office or other official entity at the university. Social media channels can include blogs, wikis, social networks (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.), and other media yet to be developed in a dynamic communications field. This policy only applies to those individuals when they are posting on such official sites and/or when they otherwise speak as an authorized representative of the university. It does not apply to other social media communications and postings that such individuals may make on personal social media sites so long as such communications do not indicate that the individual is speaking on behalf of Tufts. See guidelines for Tufts University employees’ personal use of social media.
This is intended to be a living document, which will reflect Tufts’ current needs and may adjust to future changes in social media.
Before creating any official social media account at Tufts University, you must fill out and submit the “Social Media Account Request” form. If applicable, the communications lead in your department will meet with you to discuss communications strategies specific to your school or department. If any social media channels are approved by your communications lead, you will then meet with the Digital Communications team to discuss social media policies at the university as well as strategy, goals, messaging and best practices. All official social media accounts at Tufts University, with the name and contact information for the account manager, must be registered with the Office of Digital Communications. See the “Social Media Registration” form. You should only post on behalf of Tufts or its affiliates in an official capacity where you have been explicitly authorized to do so. You should only create an account in the name of a recognized Tufts entity if you are authorized to represent that entity. Discuss with your supervisor whether you are empowered to respond directly to users and when you may need approval to respond, or when you have questions about the appropriateness of content for posting. Take a moment to think about what you are posting before you hit the publish/post button.
Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Tufts, or Tufts employees, students, affiliates, or alumni that would violate such persons’ rights to privacy under applicable federal and state laws and regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) and university policies. Non-disclosure agreements that prohibit the university from disclosing information also bind its employees from disclosing such information.
Do not post anything to an official social media channel that should not be shared publicly. In particular, do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media site without their knowledge or permission. This does not include photos from the Tufts Digital Collections and Archives or photos in which individuals are not clearly recognizable. Keep in mind that for reasons of privacy or security some students may not want it publicly known that they attend Tufts. Never share Social Security numbers, addresses or other private information. Remember that whatever you share may be public for an indefinite period of time, even if you attempt to modify or delete it.
Use of social media on an official Tufts channel must be managed responsibly because it reflects on the university, its faculty, its students, its alumni, and its employees.
To both protect the Tufts name and build trust with users, social media such as blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, etc. that are established on behalf of Tufts entities should be explicit regarding the nature of the relationship of such media to Tufts. Similarly, in keeping with Tufts’ non-profit status, social media should not be used for any private business or financial transactions including revenue from advertising, nor should any staff with administrative responsibilities realize any personal monetary profit from Tufts-related social media. Social media may be used for fundraising as long as a transaction does not occur on the social media platform itself.
Content shared via official Tufts social media channels, as well as pages or accounts that these channels like or follow, should reflect the mission and values of Tufts University. Official Tufts accounts should refrain from posting content and liking or following users or pages that reflect personal interests or that may be in conflict with Tufts’ mission or values.
Official Tufts accounts should encourage engagement and interaction with and among followers; however, they should reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing or derogatory. If the social network allows for it in the “Bio” or “About” section, official accounts should post a disclaimer similar to this: “Third-party posts on this wall do not imply endorsement of that content by Tufts. We reserve the right to remove content that is spam, commercial, obscene, harassing, and/or derogatory.”
In addition to meeting the requirements set forth in the Guidelines on the use of Tufts’ names and insignias, there are unique challenges associated with using the Tufts name in social media, such as the potential need to abbreviate a program or entity name for a Twitter account.
Tufts official accounts must follow the Tufts University Policy On Fair Use of Copyrighted Materials when posting intellectual property, including photos and videos, online.
Terms of Service
Official social media accounts at Tufts University must follow the Terms of Service set forth by the social media channels they are using.
Tufts University has created best practices and guidelines for the most popular social media platforms. Official channels should follow the best practices for each platform. In some cases, deviation from best practices is warranted, but failure to follow best practices to the detriment of the university may result in, but not be limited to, exclusion from official Tufts social media lists or platforms, lack of promotion from the main Tufts University channels, and possible deactivation or deletion of the offending account. Deactivation and deletion will be carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications director or the highest ranking officer of the department.
Social media channels at Tufts University must be continually updated and monitored. Accounts that have been inactive for more than one month may be subject to deactivation or deletion. Deactivation and deletion will be carried out by contacting and working with the school’s communications director or the highest ranking officer of the department.
Tufts University is committed to ensuring effective access to communications materials for all members of the university community, including individuals with disabilities.
While social media continues to evolve and develop as an effective tool for advertising jobs at the university and for recruiting candidates, it does not replace or otherwise eliminate the need to use the university’s existing recruitment systems and processes for posting positions, collecting applications, conducting background checks, making offers of employment and other related activities. Offers of employment should only be extended through existing and accepted processes, and should not be communicated through social media.