Social Media Policies

Policy for creation of a social media site

  1. Review and be familiar with all policies, guidelines and procedures for Miami social media sites as outlined herein
  2. Secure approval. Fill out the social media application form found on the final page of this section and submit to socialmedia@miamioh.edu and include the names of the primary and backup site contacts
  3. Determine type of site. Decide if the social media site is a closed site (only members that meet a specific criteria are allowed access) or an open site (all members of the public are allowed access)

For specific questions contact Kelly Bennett (Kelly.Bennett@MiamiOH.edu).

Content Policies and Disclaimer

As a public university, Miami respects freedom of speech and will not violate First Amendment laws, so posts should not be removed unless they betray protected information, are spam or off-topic, or are otherwise illegal.

Under the First Amendment, posts on a typical, open social media site (i.e., the Miami Facebook page) cannot be limited based on the content of the speech/expression, with the exception of posts that break laws or that materially interrupt the work and discipline of the university or interfere with the opportunity of other students to obtain an education.

In a closed site (such as the Miami Class of 2018 site for accepted students) the site administrator cannot limit the content (what is said) of a post, but can determine:

  • Who can post
  • How long posts can stay up
  • Number of times a person can post
  • The topics discussed

Each Miami University Facebook site must contain the following disclaimer in the “About” section:

“We welcome your opinions, and encourage open discussion about the topics we post. If we become aware of messages that contain advertising, are off-topic, are intended to defame, infringe someone’s rights, or are violations of the law, we reserve the right to remove them.”

Policy for Crisis Communications and Major Announcements

In the event of a crisis situation, all official posts and tweets will come from the @MiamiUniversity twitter and/or Miami University Facebook pages. From there, other university social media sites may share that information. Never post unapproved information or messages that are not issued by central university administration. Doing so could jeopardize the safety of individuals or result in false information being attributed or disseminated.

In the event of a major announcement (not an urgent crisis), information should not be mentioned on social media until it has been made official and posted on http://MiamiOH.edu/News or on Miami’s primary, central social media sites. Once official, information may be shared through other university social media outlets.

Social media is often the first source of major news; frequently, news or situations go “viral.” Often, social media actual “creates” the news or makes a story more significant than it warrants. The instantaneous nature of social media also means audiences expect an instantaneous response from organizations during an urgent or crisis situation, often before the organizations themselves have the facts.

To maintain credibility in situations confirmed to involve Miami students or employees, Miami strives to post the information that is available and confirmed by authorities such as law enforcement. If there is not yet confirmed information, Miami will share that the university: 1) is aware of the situation, 2) will post accurate information on the homepage as soon as it is confirmed through appropriate authorities, and 3) will convey messages critical to the safety of the community. Until accurate information is available, the university will monitor its social media sites and other news and social sites to carefully correct misinformation.

University Policies & Protected Information Policies Related or Connected to Social Media

When engaging in any social media activity as part of official duties at Miami, employees are governed by the same policies that govern all other electronic communications. Employees must not violate university computing, privacy, IT, FERPA, NCAA, intellectual property, branding, freedom of speech or other state, local or federal policies and laws.

This section applies to disclosure of protected information while engaging in social media activity (1) during employment at or while conducting activities for Miami, or (2) as part of the employee’s official duties. Such employees/individuals must follow all applicable state, federal, and local laws, such as FERPA, NCAA, and HIPPA, and policies found in university faculty and staff handbooks and the brand identification and standards manual. Any content that violates any of these, or contains/leads to a student’s private or personal information, is strictly prohibited and should not be posted by employees or others using the site. Violations must be reported immediately to University Communications and Marketing.

FERPA

Protect confidential information covered by privacy laws, especially FERPA: "The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education."

Those who conduct social media activities for Miami must not engage in any conversations or post any information regarding student records. Some examples of student records include names, admission status, GPA, Social Security numbers, and any other information that would be covered by FERPA. If students request help, employees can direct them to a secure discussion platform, such as phone, email, or a link for more information.

HIPAA

Protect confidential medical records as specified by HIPAA: “The privacy rule protects all 'individually identifiable health information' held or transmitted by a covered entity or its business associate, in any form or media, whether electronic, paper, or oral.” Examples of protected information include: “…the individual’s past, present or future physical or mental health condition, the provision of health care to the individual, or, the past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual, and that identifies the individual or for which there is a reasonable basis to believe can be used to identify the individual.”

NCAA

Miami employees and individuals are required to abide by NCAA regulations when interacting and communicating on social media platforms. Employees may not contact (i.e., tweet or friend/like) prospective student-athletes on social media until after they have signed a National Letter of Intent with the school. Please contact Miami’s Office of Intercollegiate Athletics for any clarification or questions in connection with this policy.

Personal Business Transactions. The university does not endorse or use any social network Internet communication service or media sharing service as a secure means of communication for online business transactions or matters involving personal information. The university will not ask for, nor may 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.

Copyright and Fair Use

Respect copyright law. "Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture. Copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems, or methods of operation, although it may protect the way these things are expressed." Fair use allows portions of certain works to be used without consent under specific situations; however, "The safest course is always to get permission from the copyright owner before using copyrighted material."

Resources/Links for Internal and External Social Media-Related Policies

Employees whose official duties include social media monitoring, management, or content must be familiar with the following before engaging in any official social media activity:

Internal:

External: