IT-1014 Social Media Policy

Effective Date: 2015-01-01

1.0 Overview

With the increased use of social media communication tools in professional and personal life, steps must be taken to decrease the impact on organizational and professional reputations. Florida Institute of Technology encourages the participation in social media by university offices to strengthen local, national and global reputation and our connection with current and future students, parents, alumni, donors, faculty, staff and other key audiences.

2.0 Purpose

Social media communications examples include, but are not limited to LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and MySpace. With the increasing usage of these media outlets, Florida Tech has developed a policy to help clarify how best to enhance and protect personal and professional reputations when participating in social media.

3.0 Scope

This policy applies to employees, faculty, students, alumni, donors and any other user that utilizes social media in association with Florida Institute of Technology. In some cases, these restrictions may be lifted by other official policies pertaining to certain staff, systems, or processes.

4.0 Policies

Both in professional and institutional roles, employees need to follow the same behavioral standards online as they would in real life. The same laws, professional ethics, and guidelines for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other university constituents apply online as in the real world.

Employees are liable for anything they post to social media sites.

4.1 Policies for all Social Media Sites, including Personal Sites

As a user of Social Media sites in conjunction with Florida Institute of Technology you have the following responsibilities:

  • Protect confidential and proprietary information: Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Florida Tech, its students, employees, or alumni. Employees must follow the applicable federal requirements such as FERPA and HIPAA. All applicable university privacy and confidentiality policies.  Users who share confidential information do so at the risk of disciplinary action or termination.
  • Respect University time and property: University computers and time on the job are reserved for university-related business as approved by their supervisors and in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policy .
  • Respect copyright and fair use: When posting, be mindful of the copyright and intellectual property rights of others and of the university. For guidance, consult the Policy on Digital Millennium Copyright Act Violations.
  • Don't use Florida Tech logos or related names for endorsements: Do not use the Florida Tech logo or any other university images on personal social media sites. Do not use the Florida Tech name to promote a product, cause, or political party or candidate.
  • Terms of Service: Obey the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.

4.2 Best Practices

This section is divided into two sections, one for university involvement and one for personal involvement.

As a user of social media in a university capacity while representing Florida Tech the employee must:

  •  Express ideas and opinions in a respectful manner. Avoid negative personal comments or inflammatory statements. Be sensitive about linking to third-party content.  
  • Accurately represent themselves: Be open and honest about their identity and relationship to the university. Indicate if they are authorized by a supervisor to represent the university. Write in the first person. Establish a separate profile solely for the purpose of professional involvement.
  • Maintain consistency with the Florida Tech brand: Contact the Office of Creative Services (http://www.fit.edu/creative/) for approved logos and other graphic elements that are prepared specifically for a media and virtual applications.
  • Consider the public nature and longevity of comments before posting: Keep in mind unintended consequences if comments are forwarded, copied or subpoenaed.
  • Maintain Civility: Do not initiate conflicts or display hostility. Correct falsehoods or misinformation with accurate information, when appropriate.
  • Be Honest: Verify facts before making comments. Don’t make unsubstantiated claims. Cite and link to sources.
  • Keep sites current: Refresh content, respond to questions and update information.

As a user of social media in a personal capacity the employee must:

  • Avoid misrepresenting the university or making derogatory comments about the university or its employees.
  • Not use the university’s name, logo, mascot or other trademarks or images on personal sites.
  • Not use the university’s name to promote or endorse any product, cause, religion, political party, candidate or anything else on personal sites.
  • Keep clear lines between personal and university social networking activities.
  • Remember that personal information can be used in identity theft, which can compromise university security, as well as employee’s own security.

 Questions regarding best practices should be directed to the Office of Information Technology

5.0 Enforcement

Employees and other persons employed by the university found to have violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action based on the nature of the offense up to and including termination of employment or any other action the university administration deems appropriate.