UNC Charlotte supports the official use of Social Media to communicate with the audiences connected to the University community, including students, prospective students, parents, employees, alumni, donors, visitors, fans, and the greater Charlotte region. This Policy and its Supplemental Regulations establish standards and practices for creating and managing Social Media accounts on behalf of UNC Charlotte and its offices, departments, centers, colleges, schools, or programs. These standards and practices are intended to encourage appropriate use of Social Media tools, maintain the University’s reputation, and align communications efforts across the University.
UNC Charlotte executes Social Media strategy and management for accounts representing UNC Charlotte in an official capacity, as well as oversight of the broader network of University-controlled Social Media accounts, through University Communications.
- This Policy applies to all Social Media accounts representing UNC Charlotte and/or one of its offices, departments, centers, colleges, schools, or programs.
- This Policy does not apply to personal Social Media accounts of students or employees.
- This Policy does not apply to student organization Social Media accounts.
- Account Administrator: Any University employee or contractor with login credentials who is designated the duty to serve as an administrator for an Official Social Media Account.
- Chief Communications Officer: Associate Vice Chancellor for University Communications or designee.
- Network of Accounts: The collective group of Official Social Media Accounts.
- Official Social Media Account: Any Social Media account approved by the Social Media Team and the Chief Communications Officer that represents UNC Charlotte and/or one of its offices, departments, centers, colleges, schools, or programs.
- Social Media: Public channels on the Internet designed to facilitate dialogue with audiences and share relevant public information. Social Media channels include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, and platforms using interactive geo-location services and any other related systems.
- Social Media Team: A group of University employees appointed by the Chief Communications Officer whose functions include review and approval of proposed Official Social Media Accounts, in consultation with the Chief Communications Officer; review and recommendations to University Communications related to the Network of Accounts; and review of this Policy and recommendation to University Communications on revisions as appropriate.
IV. Standards and Practices
All Account Administrators are required to comply with the standards and practices set forth in this Policy and its Supplemental Regulations. Use of Social Media accounts must not be in violation of this Policy, state or federal laws, or related policies and regulations, including, but not limited to,
- University Policy 302, Web Communications,
- UNC Charlotte Privacy Statement,
- University Policy 315, Copyright Policy,
- UNC System Policy 1300.8,
- University Policy 804, Standards of Ethical Conduct,
- University Policies related to free speech, or
- other campus policies related to free speech.
In addition, Account Administrators are responsible for ensuring that Official Social Media Accounts they administer comply with the following:
- Public Records
The posts of Account Administrators and any comments, messages, or content submitted or posted by others on Official Social Media Accounts are subject to the N.C. Public Records Act and may be disclosed to third parties when required by law. All Official Social Media Account profiles should include references to the applicability of University Policy 605.8, Public Records Requests and N.C.G.S. Chapter 132, Public Records Act.
- Moderating Content
- Account Administrators have the discretion as to whether or not to open comment sections on their Official Social Media Accounts. When a comment section is maintained as open, commentary by users, even when harsh or critical of the University or others, should generally not be deleted. In the event of commentary that constitutes true threats, incitement of violence or lawless action, fighting words, libel or defamation, obscenity, unlawful harassment or discrimination, invasion of privacy, or comments that are otherwise not protected speech, the University reserves the right to hide or delete such comments. See UNC Charlotte Free Speech website.
- Before an Account Administrator hides or deletes any comments or posts, the comments or posts should be documented and shared with the Chief Communications Officer, who will approve any such hiding or removal after consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs. An Account Administrator may be permitted to block a user who repeatedly posts unprotected speech from making further posts on the Official Social Media Account, with the approval of the Chief Communications Officer following consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs, provided the Account Administrator has documented such instances.
- Account Administrators may report suspected violations of Social Media community standards to the Social Media host site, pursuant to applicable terms and conditions of the site.
- Copyright and Trademarks
All content shared to an Official Social Media Account must be owned, licensed, or otherwise authorized by the University or the Account Administrator(s) sharing the content. Content owned by third parties may be posted only with the express written permission of the copyright holder or license from the trademark holder and must carry appropriate attribution to the source. See University Policy 315, Copyright Policy and FAQs on licensing University trademarks.
- Political Activity:
- No Account Administrator may engage in political activity while on duty, including on Official Social Media Accounts. Political activity includes any action directed toward the success or failure of a candidate, political party, or partisan political group. This includes campaigning and/or taking an active part in managing a campaign. See UNC System Policy 300.5.1, Political Activities of Employees.
- In general, no Account Administrator may use their University position, including on Official Social Media Accounts, to secure support for, or to oppose, any candidate or issue in an election involving candidates for office or party nominations. In addition, no individual or group may use state or University funds, services (including Official Social Media Accounts), supplies (including letterhead and postage), equipment (including telephones, computers, photocopiers, and fax machines), vehicles, or other University property to secure support for, or to oppose, any person or issue in any election. See UNC System Policy 300.5.1, Political Activities of Employees.
- No Account Administrator may promise, including on Official Social Media Accounts, preferential treatment (or actually confer such preference) or threaten detrimental treatment (or actually impose such detriment) to any person to induce support for, or opposition to, a candidate, political office, or partisan political group. See UNC System Policy 300.5.1, Political Activities of Employees.
- No Account Administrator may coerce an employee or applicant to support or contribute to a political candidate, political committee, or political party or to change the party designation of their voter registration, including on Official Social Media Accounts. See N.C.G.S. §126-14.
- Account Administrators may participate fully in public affairs in a manner that does not compromise their efficiency or integrity as employees or the neutrality, efficiency, or integrity of the University. To that end, Account Administrators must not imply that the political opinions they express in their individual capacity on Official Social Media Accounts they administer are endorsed by the University. See UNC System Policy 300.5.1, Political Activities of Employees.
Confidential information about the University, its faculty, staff, or students may not be shared on Official Social Media Accounts. See the University’s Privacy Statement and Standard for Responsible Use.
Except in cases of authorized corporate sponsorships, Official Social Media Accounts may not be used to identify, promote, endorse, or commercially advertise the goods or services of non-University entities or organizations.
- Official Recognition
- To be recognized as an Official Social Media Account, all pre-existing University Social Media accounts and any new proposed Official Social Media Accounts must be submitted through an online registration form for review and approval by the Social Media Team in consultation with the Chief Communications Officer. Approval of an Official Social Media Account will result in recognition in the University Social Media Directory, and receipt of tailored profile branding assets, as well as approved graphic packages and templates.
- Any University-related Social Media accounts that are denied approval as Official Social Media Accounts or are not submitted for review and approval may not represent themselves as Official Social Media Accounts and are prohibited from using state or University funds, services, supplies, equipment, or other University property, including University copyrighted or trademarked materials (including University-branded logos and images) without authorization by appropriate University officials, in administration of those accounts.
- Account Administration
- All Official Social Media Accounts must be administered by at least two non-student University employees serving as Account Administrators at all times, as well as the Chief Communications Officer.
- Account Administrators must grant administrative access to Official Social Media Accounts they administer to the Social Media Team to support account administration turnover, manage capacity, and for assistance in instances of crisis management.
- Any Account Administrator who is a contractor providing digital communications services to the University shall be required by written agreement to comply with this Policy and its Supplemental Regulations.
- Account Administrators are required to adhere to best practices regarding naming conventions, profile imagery, logos, and brand use, as established by the University’s Brand Identity Standards. (See Supplemental Regulations, Section III.)
- Account Administrators must archive all content posted to, messaged to, or appearing on Official Social Media Accounts to comply with applicable state law and policies and regulations related to public records access, retention, and disposition. (See UNC Charlotte Records Retention and Disposition Guidance)
VI. Roles and Responsibilities
The Office of University Communications, Division of University Advancement, is responsible for implementing this Policy and its Supplemental Regulations, and for reviewing these documents regularly to ensure they are consistent with best practices and applicable related policies, laws, and regulations.
Violation of this Policy may result in disciplinary action in accordance with the status and classification of the Account Administrator, including loss of access of account, or other disciplinary action.
Initially Approved September 28, 2020
Responsible Office: University Advancement