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Social Media Policy

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Section 1 - Preamble

(1) Charles Darwin University (‘CDU’, ‘the University’) recognises the benefits and importance of social media as a tool to engage with staff, students, researchers, parents, alumni, donors, media, business partners and the University community.

(2) Social media allows the University to interact and connect with online audiences through the dissemination of information, news, research findings, marketing and promotional messages.

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Section 2 - Purpose

(3) This policy outlines how social media can be used by University staff, students, contractors, authorised visitors and volunteers.

(4) The use of social media when representing the University is governed by the Media Policy, Information and Communication Technologies Acceptable Use Policy, Code of Conduct -Staff and Code of Conduct -Students.

(5) This policy should be read in conjunction with the Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech Policy.

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Section 3 - Scope

(6) This policy applies to all University staff, students, contractors, authorised visitors and volunteers.

(7) Social media is considered as being connected to the University in the following circumstances:

  1. the social media account is established or used as an official University social media channel;
  2. the social media is accessed using University Information Communications Technology (ICT) Services, Facilities and Materials;
  3. there is an express or implied reference indicating an affiliation between a student or staff member and the University on the site or associated sites; or
  4. the content of the social media postings is specifically about the University or its students or staff, in whole or in part.

(8) The policy does not apply to personal social media use. However, due to the public nature of social media and the potential social media use has to damage the reputation of the University and/or the individual, staff should ensure that any public comments made on social media clearly indicate that they are being made as a private individual and do not represent the University.

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Section 4 - Policy

(9) The University supports participation in social media technologies, recognising they are:

  1. used for both work and private use by staff;
  2. an effective way to communicate with the University community;
  3. a vehicle for direct engagement among staff members, students and community supporters; and
  4. widely used to build and maintain external professional networks.

Official university accounts

(10) An official University social media account is an account that represents the opinions of the University. It must be authorised by the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer and relevant member of the Senior Executive Team.

(11) Official University accounts, groups, pages or networks must:

  1. indicate that the University manages the account;
  2. clearly display University contact and compliance information; and
  3. comply with the University’s branding requirements;
  4. be pre-approved by the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.  Any accounts, groups, pages or networks that exist without prior authorisation are subject to review and may be amended or removed, or where necessary reported to the relevant social media company (e.g. Facebook) for removal. The University reserves the right to restrict or remove any content that is deemed to breach this policy, the Media policy, the Code of Conduct -Staff and Code of Conduct -Students.
  5. be actively maintained with regular posts, unique content and a sufficient level of engagement and monitoring. Non-compliance may result in the account being removed or where necessary reported to the relevant social media company (g. Facebook) for removal. 
  6. have at least two administrators with access to the account at all times. When a staff member who is an administrator of a social media account leaves the University, an alternative administrator must be assigned. The account must also be provided administrative access.

(12) Account adminstrators are responsible for setting the privacy setting, monitoring and maintaining content and comments, and are required to respond immediately to any take-down requirement issued by the relevant member of the Vice-Chancellor’s Indigenous Advisory Committee.

Content on official university social media accounts

(13) Content on official University social media accounts should be approved by a relevant member of the Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Committee, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, or the Marketing Manager - Marketing, Media and Communications.

(14) University account adminstrators should only post material related to their area of expertise, in alignment with the Media Policy’s guidelines on expert comment.

(15) Prior consent and permission must be obtained to post photographs, images, words, artwork, or video or audio recordings on social media. This permission can be captured through a signed Photographic/Permissions Talent Release form that authorises the University to use, reproduce and publish items in full or part without restriction. Copies of this form must be stored securely and be easily accessible.

Expectations of university spokespersons

(16) Posting on official University social media is considered as providing public comment on the University. Any communication on social media on behalf of the University, in a manner that officially represents or appears to represent the University and/or its interests must be led and coordinated by the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer.

(17) Using social media in any capacity on behalf of the University is considered to be commenting on behalf of the University. Staff obligations for commenting on behalf of the University are set out in the Media Policy.

Expert comment

(18) Academic staff of the University can post on social media to provide 'expert comment’ on their areas of expertise. Staff guidelines around expert comment are set out in the Media Policy and Academic Freedom and Freedom of Speech policy.

(19) Where an academic staff member makes a  comment on a matter which is directly related to their area of expertise, the individual academic staff member can establish their credentials by using their title and link to their staff or research profile. Academic staff providing expert comment should include a disclaimer which states that the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of Charles Darwin University.

Unofficial university social media accounts

(20) Unofficial University social media accounts (e.g. student clubs and interest groups) must not carry the University name or logo as they are not endorsed by the University.

Unacceptable use

(21) Where a University staff member could be construed as representing the University, through a clear or intended connection with the University such as identifying the University as a current employer, or identifying as a current student of the University, users of social media are not permitted to:

  1. use offensive language;
  2. post content or objectionable material that:
    1. contradicts the University the Code of Conduct -Staff and Code of Conduct -Students;
    2. promotes, fosters, or perpetuates discrimination on the basis of race, creed, colour, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability or sexual orientation;
    3. is sexually explicit or pornographic, or links to sexually explicit or pornographic content;
    4. is used to intimidate, menace, bully or harass (including, but not limited to, cyber bullying and stalking) a staff member, contractor, student or other person;
    5. impersonates another student, staff member or associate of the University;
    6. might be construed as creating a risk to the health and safety of staff members or students including material that amounts to unacceptable behaviour such as psychological or emotional violence and abuse, coercion, harassment and/or discrimination, aggressive or abusive comments or behaviour, and/or unreasonable demands or undue pressure; and/or
    7. brings the University into disrepute;
  3. post information that compromises the safety or security of the public or public institutions;
  4. violates privacy through the release of confidential or personal information obtained in a person's capacity as a staff member/authorised visitor of the University that would reasonably be expected, to be kept private.
    1. Personal photos taken at the University during teaching and learning activities where students are present, are not to be posted to personal social media accounts. Only official CDU social medial posts and news articles may be shared on personal social media accounts to promote University activities. 
    2. Social media users must protect all University information that is considered to be non-public in nature unless authorised by the relevant member of the Vice-Chancellor's Advisory Committee and the Chief Marketing and Communications Officer;
  5. post content or material that is or is likely to be defamatory, inaccurate, false, misleading or may affect the reputation of the University. All dealings with social media must be honest and all reasonable efforts must be made to provide accessible references to claims of a factual nature;
  6. use the University’s name or logo without prior approval from Marketing, Media and Communications;
  7. use the University’s name or logo to engage in solicitations of commerce, including intent to create personal monetary or financial gain from social media channels;
  8. engage in or encourage conduct that constitutes a criminal offence or illegal activity; and/or
  9. post content or material that violates a legal ownership interest of any other party, including breach of copyright or other intellectual property rights, which includes the intellectual property rights of the University, as per the Intellectual Property Policy.
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Section 5 - Non-Compliance

(22) Non-compliance with Governance Documents is considered a breach of the Code of Conduct – Staff or the Code of Conduct – Students, as applicable, and is treated seriously by the University. Reports of concerns about non-compliance will be managed in accordance with the applicable disciplinary procedures outlined in the Charles Darwin University and Union Enterprise Agreement 2022 and the Code of Conduct – Students.

(23) Complaints may be raised in accordance with the Code of Conduct – Staff and Code of Conduct - Students.

(24) All staff members have an individual responsibility to raise any suspicion, allegation or report of fraud or corruption in accordance with the Fraud and Corruption Control Policy and Whistleblower Reporting (Improper Conduct) Procedure.