Social Media Use

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1. Purpose

1.1. Social media sites are online communities used increasingly in all aspects of our professional and personal lives to communicate and distribute information. Well-known examples of these sites are Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

1.2. The increase in usage of this type of media has resulted in new ways to share events, reach out to alumni, and gather feedback on issues. Along with positive effects are new concerns that we want to make employees and students aware of, such as the increased diligence we need to have in communicating on these sites to maintain an atmosphere of integrity, honesty, and respect that is free of harassment, exploitation, and intimidation. To help guide us in the use of these tools, we have created this regulation and the social media guidelines referenced in the additional references sections for our community of users.

2. Applicability

2.1. This regulation is applicable to all East Carolina University (ECU) faculty, staff, temporary employees, postdoctoral fellows, students, contractors, and visitors and retirees who have campus access to the university network and/or data.

2.2. ECU employees may not use a university social media site to conduct activities for the financial gain of any person or organization other than ECU and, subject to additional regulations, ECU’s formally associated entites.

3. Instructional Use

3.1. Required student communication for instruction should be limited to ECU-managed tools that protect student data as required by FERPA and meet the guidelines for legal e-discovery. Several ECU tools meet these requirements (e.g., Blackboard, Centra, Yammer). An updated list of recommended tools will be maintained within the ECU Social Media Guidelines.

3.2. If an ECU employee or person acting on behalf of ECU in any official capacity chooses to use a non-managed social media tool (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) for supplementary discussion and informal activity relating to a class or other ECU activity, this regulation must be followed.

4. University Business Use

4.1. Only ECU employees employed in permanent positions are authorized to create and/or maintain external social media networking sites to conduct ECU business that requires community outreach.

4.2. If authorized by the home department and in adherence with this regulation, an employee may post department information, resources, calendars, and events on authorized ECU social media sites.

4.3. Each social media site requires an ECU employee to act as administrator to manage and monitor the site.

4.4. All social media activity must be consistent with the principles set forth in the ECU Social Media Guidelines.

5. ECU Trademark, Logo, and University Mark

5.1. Only sites that have been authorized to do so may use the ECU logo or trademarks. Any use of an ECU mark must be consistent with the regulations and standards established by ECU’s University Marketing Department.

5.2. Application and authorization for the use of the ECU logo and trademark is outlined in the ECU Social Media Guidelines.

5.3. There are two types of authorized sites: (1) Official – a site that represents the entire university and uses ECU trademarks and logos, and (2) Recognized – a site that represents a portion of ECU (e.g., a department or college), complies with this regulation, applicable social media guidelines, and approved by University Marketing.

5.4. Once all guidelines are met, the person who creates the site must immediately register it with University Marketing. A list of Official and Recognized social media sites will be maintained in one location by University Marketing.

6. Ensuring Privacy in Communications

6.1. All sites, regardless of status, are expected to maintain confidentiality by excluding confidential or proprietary information about ECU, its students, faculty, staff, patients, or alumni.

6.2. All sites should reflect good ethical judgment and follow University of North Carolina and ECU policies and federal requirements, such as FERPA and HIPAA.

6.3. ECU strictly prohibits the unauthorized disclosure of protected health information including but not limited to patient images on any social media sites.

6.4. Sites will not use information shared on these sites as part of passwords and/or answers to passphrase security questions.

7. Disclaimer

7.1. Individuals or groups within the ECU community are not permitted to present personal opinions on ECU maintained sites in a manner that implies endorsement byECU.

7.2. If posted material may reasonably be construed to imply the support, endorsement, or opposition of ECU, including opinions or views on issues, the material will be accompanied by the following disclaimer. “The contents including all opinions and views expressed within this site, are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the opinions or views of anyone else, including other employees in my department or at ECU. ECU has not approved and is not responsible for the material contained at this site.”

8. Compliance and Monitoring

8.1. Users of social media networks must adhere to all ECU computer policies, regulations, rules, and standards. ECU does not routinely monitor social media sites; however, ECU reserves the right to access any university social media site to investigate issues that are reported or discovered to enforce applicable federal, state, University of North Carolina Board of Governors, and University laws and policies.

8.2. In response to concerns or complaints, ECU administrators may examine profiles on social networking sites that are being used to conduct ECU business and use information in formal or informal disciplinary proceedings.