It is the responsibility of all staff to comply with consumer protection legislation. The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) and ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) regulations are the most relevant to our activity within the University, and all staff should be aware of how they could fall foul of these in their communications on social media. Recent scrutiny of the activities of the higher education sector in this area means that it is more crucial than ever to demonstrate that our social media content complies with our legal obligations.
- Don't make claims about course content, facilities, partnerships, career opportunities or similar that can't be substantiated. Signpost enquirers to current and relevant further information on our website, or direct them to contact an appropriate department.
- If referencing league table positions, always quote the most up to date standings, rather than referring to previous years.
- Don't make direct comparisons with other institutions.
- Talk about current conditions affecting courses of study, rather than speculating about the future.
- Don't risk misleading people by omission. Don't leave things out, such as hidden course costs.
Any staff member representing the University observed to be in breach of the above will have the activity flagged to the relevant parties.
To avoid copyright infringement, please ensure you own or have paid for any images or video you use directly in your posts.
Reputation management and abuse:
It is an important part of the role of a university to stimulate debate, challenge and inform. It is therefore inevitable that some of our work and research will engender strong opinions and create lively debate.
Whilst we should defend our research, work and ethos, accounts which are associated with the University must be careful not to claim to speak for the whole of the institution. Don’t get drawn into commenting on areas that aren’t your field of expertise.
To assist with this and prevent confusion, the bio/about section of University social media profiles should clearly state:
- Who runs the account, and whether this changes on a regular basis (curated by a community, for example)
- What department/course it is affiliated to.
- What the purpose of the account is.
If you are running a personal social media account which could easily identify you with the University, then make sure to include a “views own” disclaimer in the bio.
Whilst we should seek to try and resolve genuine issues and concerns quickly, avoid getting into lengthy discussions with trolls and those posting abuse. This can quickly descend into farce and get personal – that’s not appropriate when you’re representing the University. If you wouldn’t say something to another person face to face, you also shouldn’t say it using social media.
Inappropriate comment and content can lead to complaints as well as consideration of disciplinary action by the University. Your responsibilities with regards to appropriate conduct on social media form part of the ICT acceptable usage policy which all staff members are required to adhere to.
Contact the Social Media Officer on firstname.lastname@example.org for further advice.