Social Media Policy

Revision Date: August 2021: Periodic revisions to this policy may be made by University leadership and communicated to the Detroit Mercy community accordingly.

1. Purpose

University of Detroit Mercy encourages the use of social media to connect with others, including students, employees, alumni, fans and friends. Social media sites are excellent venues to communicate and encourage engaging discussions about University current events, issues, accolades, organizations and people.

2. Policy

This policy describes the rules and procedures for the use of official University social media sites by faculty, staff and students to ensure that university-sponsored social media is both legal and in compliance with University policies. It also provides recommendations on social media behaviors for students, faculty and staff.

  1. Official University Social Media Sites must adhere to state, federal laws and regulations, and University policies. Only public information may be posted on official University social media sites.
  2. Official University social media sites must not contain sensitive personal or confidential information as defined by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Regulations, as applicable. Any sensitive personal information or other confidential information posted on an official University social media site must be removed upon discovery by the site administrator as soon as practically possible.
  3. The University is committed to fostering an educational environment that allows for freedoms of speech and expression in accordance with the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. However, the University will not tolerate any activity or posting on an official University social media site that exceeds First Amendment protection such as any unlawful, defamatory, or obscene (as defined by Michigan and federal laws) activity or posting. The University reserves the right to remove any such posting without notice. The University also reserves the right to refer social media activity to the applicable social media platform and/or appropriate authorities for appropriate action.
  4. All official University social media sites must respect intellectual property rights, federal Copyright law and University policies.
  5. Employee Use: When using social media as a part of official duties, and/or when presenting oneself in social media settings as a university representative, employees must comply with applicable University policies governing employee behavior and acceptable use of electronic and information resources.
  6. Official University social media sites will have a minimum of one administrator to ensure that the site is consistently managed. This individual must be a full-time employee of the University.
  7. All content on official University social media sites must make every effort to ensure that information is ADA compliant. Please review standards published at W3C and consult with the Office of Marketing & Communications for questions you may have.
  8. It is the responsibility of the official University social media site administrator to ensure social media content is fully accessible. Individuals who require help may contact the Office of Marketing & Communications to receive training and instruction on how to improve the accessibility of their social media site by emailing marcom@udmercy.edu or call 313-993-1254.
  9. All University social media sites must comply with all applicable University branding standards.

3. Definitions

  1. Social Media: A software system or service provided via the Internet used to communicate and share information between people through interactions with video, audio, text or multimedia. Examples include, but are not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress and other similar services.
  2. Copyright: A set of laws protecting intellectual property rights of authors for original work that include literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. A copyright does not protect facts, ideas, systems or methods of operation – only the way these objects may be expressed

4. Procedures

  1. As prescribed in 2.8, please ensure that all social media icons and/or profiles comply with any applicable University branding standards set forth by the Office of Marketing & Communications. The social media icon and/or profile image can be a photograph related to the administrator’s entity, an approved logo for that entity, or another appropriately branded image.

Content for University social media (does not include photo policies)

  1. Administrators of the site, when in need to request authorization to hide or delete any material in violation of this policy, or to block a user from a site, should contact the Office of Marketing & Communications, who will consult with the Office of Legal Services.
  2. Administrators of an official University social media site should not engage in personal activity when using any official University social media site.
  3. Official University social media sites should not be used for the communication of business transactions, including credit card or payment information, educational records protected by FERPA, medical records protected by HIPAA, or any other confidential information.
  4. Social media content on an official University social media site may sometimes include photographs, audio or video. Site administrators are responsible for ensuring that social media content posted on the site is not infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. Intellectual property rights of content shared by the public will be governed by federal copyright law, the terms of service of the social media provider and/or University policies.
  5. Administrators are encouraged to link to source material whenever possible. This activity will reduce the spread of misinformation and drive traffic.
  6. Administrators of University social media sites should adhere to the policies for the social media platforms in which they are participating. These policies are constantly changing, and it is the administrator’s duty to stay up to date.

Photos for University Social Media

  1. If the administrator intends to publish a student photo on the site, in which the student can be recognized, a signed photo release form from the student is required. All forms are housed in a digital file system in the Office of Marketing & Communications.
  2. When posting non-student photos, it is recommended that the administrator obtain permission. This written permission can be obtained from an e-mail or with the photo release form, as referenced in Section 4.3.1.
  3. Administrators will not share any restricted-use photos.

5. Detroit Mercy Employees maintaining official Detroit Mercy Social Media Sites

Follow all applicable state, federal laws and University policies or guidelines, faculty and staff handbooks, regulations, policies, and national rules such as FERPA, HIPAA, and NCAA Regulations. Any content and/or online activity created by a poster or site administrator that violates these ordinances, or contains/leads to the release of an employee or student’s private personal information, is strictly prohibited and should be removed.

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." (See The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA))

An employee of Detroit Mercy or entity that provides work for Detroit Mercy may not engage in any conversations or post any information regarding student records. Some examples of student records include names, admission status, grade point average (GPA), Social Security number, Detroit Mercy online records management identification numbers, and any/all other information that would be covered by FERPA. When a student requests such information about him/herself, direct the student to a secure discussion platform such as a phone or a specific department representative.

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 or 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.” (See HIPAA).

Social media has changed the face of communication and recruiting in collegiate sports and all Detroit Mercy employees are required to abide by NCAA regulations when interacting and communicating on social media platforms. In addition, all employees must refrain from contacting prospective student-athletes on social media until the student-athlete has signed a National Letter of Intent with the school.

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 should 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.

When there is a filter option for comments, disable it or set it to the lowest possible setting.

When there is an option to add information on your university-related site, administrators must include the following disclaimer: All content posted here does not necessarily reflect the views/ opinions of the University.

If you photograph a student with the intent to publish that photo on a social media site, you need to have your subject sign a photo release form.

There are appropriate forms of content redistribution structured within popular social media platforms, such as the sharing tool on Facebook, retweeting on Twitter, or utilizing the Repost app on Instagram. An alternative option is to contact the site administrator/content owner of the website from which you want to use content and request permission to share their content. Without permission of the content’s owner, you may not use the content, and will stand in violation of the Detroit Mercy Social Media Policy and the platform terms of service.

Regarding the posting of faculty and staff pictures in Detroit Mercy publications or mediums, exercise proper judgment and discretion in determining whether to post such pictures and to seek permission in any instance where faculty or staff would have some expectation of privacy. For example, group shots of employees at university events should be acceptable. However, for the posting of employee pictures on the website, it is recommended to ask for permission. This can be done in writing, by email, or with the standard Detroit Mercy photo release form. The key is to be respectful of employees’ privacy considerations.

Respect copyright law and the rights of others as directed in 3.2.

It is an express violation to infringe on someone else’s rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual-property right. What does this mean? You may not reproduce, screen-shot, modify or redistribute content (text and images) that does not belong to you, and in no circumstance should you remove, alter or conceal any watermark or other copyright identifier incorporated in the content of others.

Utilize available graphics to reinforce the University brand. Do not abuse logos. Your social media icon/profile image for your entity should comply with the Detroit Mercy branding standards. It should either be a photograph related to your entity, an approved logo for your entity, or another appropriately branded image. See Detroit Mercy's University branding standards

Employees must adhere to regular employee policies and standards of conduct. Please review the following:

Obey the terms of use for your social media platform. These rules are constantly changing so it is your duty to stay up to date. Here are links to policies for some of the more popular platforms:

Detroit Mercy social media sites should be accessible in some form to those with disabilities. Learn more here.

5.2 Guidance for Social Media use

By posting content to third party applications such as social media sites, you are almost always releasing ownership rights to and control of that content. For this reason, we ask that you do not share any restricted-use photos to which you may have access.

A faculty member using social media as a means of communicating information to your students should only use social media as a supplementary form of communication and not the primary form of communication.

Link to your source material ANY TIME it is possible. This will help reduce the possibility of misinformation and it will also drive traffic.

Protect your own privacy online by adjusting your privacy settings and publishing your updates only to the audiences with whom you wish to share your status.

When you manage a forum that allows users access to comment and post (i.e. Facebook wall, LinkedIn Group, etc.), you must adhere to the specific social media platform's terms of service and the Detroit Mercy Social Media Guidelines.

Think carefully about the content you are about to post and double check EVERYTHING, with special attention to accuracy, spelling, and grammar. Think twice about the value of the content and consider whether or not it may potentially malign or polarize any person or group.

Be respectful. If an audience member posts a comment to your site that upsets you, give yourself some time to cool down before responding. Display good sportsmanship; do not malign your rivals. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

5.3 Cyberbullying

Avoid all forms of cyberbullying. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Harassment: The bully sends malicious and offensive messages to a person and does so many times. This is a form of cyberstalking in the worst cases, and involves constant threatening and rude messages. It can eventually lead to physical harassment.
  • Flaming: This activity is similar to harassment. The difference is that it is a fight that occurs online that is done via email, texts and chat. It is a form of public, online bullying that can lead to very serious outcomes with harsh language and images shared about a particular person.
  • Exclusion: This is the act of singling out a person and leaving him or her out of an online group or site. The group will then harass the person that has been left out of the group.
  • Outing: When a bully shares a person’s personal and private information, including images and video in some cases. A person has been ‘outed’ if that person’s information is widely available online.
  • Masquerading: This is where the bully creates a false identity to harass a person on an anonymous basis. The cyberbully may also impersonate another person so to send that person nasty messages in the other person’s name.
  • Fraping: When a person logs onto the victim’s social media accounts and pretends to be that person. This is a very serious offense that some may think is entertaining but it can ruin another person’s reputation. Google generally will not forget anything that has been posted even if it is deleted so this is a very serious form of cyberbullying.
  • Trolling: This is the intentional act of getting a response online by using insults and bad language on social forums and social media sites. It is common for the troll to put down the victim and try to make the person angry and respond in kind.

Photos: As mentioned earlier in this policy, obtain a photo release from any student identifiable in the photos you share. You should also be respectful of Detroit Mercy employees by requesting written permission to release their image. This can be done via written note, email, or the standard photo release form.

It is an express violation to infringe on someone else’s rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual-property right. What does this mean? You may not reproduce, screen-shot, modify or redistribute content (text and images) that does not belong to you, and in no circumstance should you remove, alter or conceal any watermark or other copyright identifier incorporated in the content of others.

Cross-promote and share social media posts by other University accounts whenever possible.

5.4 Registering and maintaining your site

Register your site with the Office of Marketing & Communications. To register, please email marcom@udmercy.edu or call 313-993-1254.

On your site, it is encouraged that your audience should have a way to privately contact the site administrator. If this is not a built-in feature of the site you are maintaining, then you are encouraged to list or embed email contact information somewhere on the site. Email marcom@udmercy.edu with questions or comments.

Ownership rights for official university sites should only be assigned to full-time employees only (not students). In rare cases and based on department need, part-time employees may be assigned ownership rights, which requires the approval of the Office of Marketing & Communications. If you need to assign certain duties to a student intern, please seek approval and best practices from the Office of Marketing & Communications.

All sites must have at least one full-time employee administrator to ensure that there is a fail-safe in case the primary administrator becomes unavailable in an emergency situation. Departments that have a part-time site administrator must work with the Office of Marketing & Communications to establish a viable fail-safe protocol.

Drive traffic and include source material. Just like a bibliography in a written assignment or journal article, you want to give your audience a place to check the validity of the information you are sharing.

Reinforce the University voice and brand by following approved style and brand identity guidelines.

6. Detroit Mercy Employees and personal social media sites

Follow all applicable state, federal, and university laws, faculty and staff handbooks, regulations, and policies, such as FERPA, HIPAA, and NCAA Regulations. Any content and/or online activity created by a poster or site moderator that violates these ordinances, or contains/leads to the release of a student’s private personal information is strictly prohibited and should be removed.

Do not divulge any confidential information you have access to as a Detroit Mercy employee (e.g., student information). Please refer to section 5 for more information.

If you are an employee of the Detroit Mercy or provide work for the Detroit Mercy, do not engage in any conversations or post any information regarding student records. Some examples of student records include names, admission status, GPA, Social Security number, PeopleSoft number, and any/all other information that would be covered by FERPA. If students request help, you can direct them to a secure discussion platform, such as phone or email.

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 or 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.”

The world of social media has changed the face of communication and recruiting in collegiate sports and all Detroit Mercy employees are asked to abide by NCAA regulations when interacting and communicating on social media platforms. In addition, we ask that all employees refrain from contacting prospective student-athletes on social media until after they have signed a National Letter of Intent with the school.

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 should 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.

Find Detroit Mercy privacy guidelines.

It is an express violation to infringe on someone else’s rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual-property right. This means that you may not reproduce, screen-shot, modify or redistribute content (text and images) that does not belong to you, and in no circumstance should you remove, alter or conceal any watermark or other copyright identifier incorporated in the content of others.

Obey the terms of service for every social media platform, and comply with applicable University policies and laws. The social media platform terms of use are constantly changing; it is your duty to stay up to date.

Protect your own privacy online by adjusting your privacy settings and publishing your updates only to the audiences with whom you wish to share your status.

7. Detroit Mercy Students who maintain University social media sites

Respect copyright law and the rights of others. "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." (Copyright FAQs).

It is an express violation to infringe on someone else’s rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual-property right. This means that you may not reproduce, screen-shot, modify or redistribute content (text and images) that does not belong to you, and in no circumstance should you remove, alter or conceal any watermark or other copyright identifier incorporated in the content of others.

  • Utilize available graphics to reinforce the University brand. Do not abuse logos. See the Detroit Mercy University branding standards.
  • Adhere to the Detroit Mercy Student Handbook (pdf) (especially with regard to academic honesty and student code of conduct) as well as any other student policies, standards of conduct and applicable law.
  • Obey the terms of use for your social media platform. These rules are constantly changing so it is your responsibility to stay up to date.

Please understand that by posting content to third party applications such as social media sites, you are almost always releasing ownership rights to and control of that content. For this reason, we ask that you do not share any restricted-use photos to which you may have access.

You are encouraged to link to your source material ANY TIME you are able. This will help reduce the possibility of misinformation and it will also drive traffic.

Reflect on the content you are about to post and double check EVERYTHING, with special attention to accuracy, spelling, and grammar. Think twice about the value of the content and consider whether or not it may potentially malign or polarize any person or group.

Be respectful. If an audience member posts a comment to your site that upsets you, give yourself time to construct a clear-headed and reasoned response that is tactful and respectful. Display good sportsmanship; do not malign your rivals. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Avoid all forms of cyberbullying. These can include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Harassment: The bully sends malicious and offensive messages to a person and does so many times. This is a form of cyberstalking in the worst cases, and involves constant threatening and rude messages. It can eventually lead to physical harassment.
  • Flaming: This activity is similar to harassment. The difference is that it is a fight that occurs online that is done via email, texts and chat. It is a form of public, online bullying that can lead to very serious outcomes with harsh language and images shared about a particular person.
  • Exclusion: This is the act of singling out a person and leaving him or her out of an online group or site. The group will then harass the person that has been left out of the group.
  • Outing: When a bully shares a person’s personal and private information, including images and video in some cases. A person has been ‘outed’ if that person’s information is widely available online.
  • Masquerading: This is where the bully creates a false identity to harass a person on an anonymous basis. The cyberbully may also impersonate another person so to send that person nasty messages in the other person’s name.
  • Fraping: When a person logs onto the victim’s social media accounts and pretends to be that person. This is a very serious offense that some may think is entertaining but it can ruin another person’s reputation. Google generally will not forget anything that has been posted even if it is deleted so this is a very serious form of cyberbullying.
  • Trolling: This is the intentional act of getting a response online by using insults and bad language on social forums and social media sites. It is common for the troll to put down the victim and try to make the person angry and respond in kind.

Respond to comments, posts, mentions, and other interactions in a timely manner and with accurate information. Build relationships with other student administrators of social media sites who will be able to help you answer questions quickly and accurately.

It is recommended that you review your site's effectiveness once a month. This will help you understand how you can improve your communications to provide your audience with content that THEY want. This in turn will help you grow your audience. Many social media sites come equipped with native analytics, but there are also plenty of free tools out there that can help (i.e. Google Analytics, Hootsuite, bit.ly, Twitter Counter, etc.).

If you do not post items of value, your audience will stop listening. Give them content they can share and/or that will help them succeed. Give them opportunities to flaunt their creativity, or to do something fun. Every time you share a new post, ask yourself, "Would I find this valuable?" Also try to keep your language casual. Ask yourself, "Would I speak to a friend like this?"

Cross-promote when you can!

7.1 Registering and maintaining your website

When you wish to create a social site, schedule a meeting with the Office of Marketing & Communications as your first step. Once the office representative meets to discuss your site and you receive approval, register your site with the Marketing & Communications. To register, please email marcom@udmercy.edu. Registering your site will allow your site to be added to the Detroit Mercy Social Media Directory. On your site, include a method for your audience to privately contact your site administrator(s). Drive traffic and include source material. Just like a bibliography in a class assignment, you want to give your audience a place to check the validity of the information you are sharing.

8. Detroit Mercy Students who maintain personal media sites

Respect copyright law and the rights of others. "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." (See Copyright FAQs).

It is an express violation to infringe on someone else’s rights of publicity, privacy, copyright, trademark, or other intellectual-property right. This means that you may not reproduce, screen-shot, modify or redistribute content (text and images) that does not belong to you, and in no circumstance should you remove, alter or conceal any watermark or other copyright identifier incorporated in the content of others.

Adhere to the Detroit Mercy Student Handbook (especially with regard to academic honesty and student code of conduct) as well as any other college or school student policies, standards of conduct and applicable law.

Obey all social media platform terms of use. These rules are constantly changing; it is your duty to stay up to date. Policies for some of the more popular platforms are listed below.

Disclaimer

This Social Media Policy does not apply to social media advertisements (ads on social media sites promoting your entity, or ads promoting your entity's social media sites).