Social Media Policy

Policy number: GC-4200-2013
Policy Title: Social Media Policy
Policy Owner: Associate Vice President, Public Affairs Marketing and Strategic Initiatives (PAMSI)
Effective Date: February 6, 2013
Revised Date: November 26, 2019

On this page:

  1. Purpose
  2. Application and Scope
  3. Definitions
  4. Principles
  5. Accountability and Compliance
  6. Rules
  7. Policy Revision Date
  8. Attachments
  9. Specific Links
     

1. Purpose

Social Media promotes the exchange of information, ideas and concepts in an online community. The purpose of this policy is to facilitate that exchange by providing administrators, staff and faculty with a clear understanding of how current laws and College policies apply to social media. 

Mohawk College has developed this social media policy and application process to ensure that any and all interactions on behalf of Mohawk College social media accounts represent the College’s best interests.
 

2. Application and Scope

This policy applies to all social media account contributors and personal social media accounts in both the learning and working environment at Mohawk College. When using social media, either professionally or personally as it relates to the College, employees are expected to follow the same behavioural standards in the online world as they would in the physical one. The same laws, policies, professional expectations and procedures for interacting with students, parents, alumni, donors, media, and other college stakeholders apply online as in the physical world.
 

3. Definitions

“Blog(s)” are usually maintained by an individual or a business with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog.

“College-sponsored social media account” Any account administered by an official Mohawk College department or unit or any social network in support of the functions of that unit. Typically, these accounts include the name Mohawk College or Mohawk and the name of the unit (i.e. Mohawk College Student Life). Accounts administered by any other groups or individuals are considered non-sponsored accounts, this may include student-organized groups and events.

“Crisis” is any significant event that disrupts or threatens to disrupt the normal day-to-day operations of the College, or could be harmful to the reputation of the College.

“Flagship social media accounts” this refers to the official Mohawk College brand social media accounts that include, but aren’t limited to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. These accounts are managed by a division of PAMSI.

“Institutional Voice” refers to the tone and messaging of communications originating from the College as a whole.

“Paid advertising” refers to paying for any form of sponsoring content on all social media platforms.

“Personal social media account” refers to an account administered by an individual who has established a connection to the college.

“Post” is any user-generated information shared on a social media site. 

“Poster/User” Anyone posting on behalf of the college or engaging with a comment or message on a College-sponsored social media account.

“Social media” is a term that is widely used to describe websites and applications that allow users to interact with (a) site(s) or each other. This includes but is not limited to sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, in addition to blogs, social news aggregators (for e.g. Reddit) and online chat forums. This definition also applies to internal social platforms such intranet and the College’s learning management system.

“Social media account contributors” a Mohawk College faculty, staff or student who administers or authors content for any college-sponsored social media account. 
 
“Social media best practices” These consist of widely recognized guidelines, ethical considerations and conventions for creating successful social media campaigns and accounts. Social media best practices are part of social media training.

“Social media monitoring” is a process of monitoring and responding to posts related to an organization that occur in social media.

“Terms of service” refers to the agreement between a social media site and a user. Nearly all social sites will ask users to acknowledge these terms prior to being given access to the site’s services.
 

4. Principles

Our decisions and actions in the use of social media must reflect the values and behaviours described in the Mohawk College Employee Code of Conduct.
 

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team.

5.2 Compliance

The Associate Vice President, PAMSI is responsible for monitoring this policy and ensuring compliance. 

Non-compliance with applicable laws and regulations may result in civil liability or criminal prosecution. The College reserves the right to restrict access to Mohawk College social media accounts. By being a social media account contributor on a social media account, contributors are confirming agreement with this policy.

In addition to the above, contributors to social media accounts must also comply with:

  • Copyright Laws including, images, text and video
  • Social media Terms of Service
  • Privacy policies
     

6. Rules

6.1 Laws and Policies

All college-sponsored accounts, social media account contributors, and those referencing the College on personal social media accounts must act in accordance with the laws and policies referred to below. Any misuse will be dealt with by the Acceptable Employee Use of IT Resources Policy.

If you are a contributor on a college-sponsored social media account or use social media in the working and learning environment, the following must be adhered to:

  1. Respect for Others: Any content posted to a social media site could encourage comments or discussion of opposing ideas. Responses should be considered carefully in light of how they would reflect on the poster and/or the College (see Section 4) and its institutional voice (See Section 6-2.b.). 
  2. Branding: Any college-sponsored social media accounts must adhere to existing brand standards. Any imagery created using the Mohawk College logo must go through brand approval prior to use. (See Mohawk College Brand Standards)
  3. Confidential Information: Never post confidential or personal information about Mohawk students, prospective students, employees, donors, or alumni. [Refer to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and the Personal Health Information Protection Act]
  4. Copyright: Be mindful of items, images and text that are protected by copyright. Do not post content that does not belong to you without permission from the content owner. [Refer to Canadian Copyright Act]
  5. Intellectual Property: Respect the intellectual property of others. Do not post content or claim an idea as your own if it originated from someone else. If in doubt, seek permission before posting. 
  6. Posting on behalf of the College: Do not present yourself as a spokesperson of the College unless you are authorized to do so. You should never associate your personal social media with a college-sponsored account. Use of the Mohawk logo or any other College image or iconography must be approved by the College. Mohawk’s name should never be used to promote a product, cause, political party or candidate. 
  7. Social Media at Work: Use of social media while on the job is reserved for College related communications and in accordance with the Acceptable Employee Use of IT Resources Policy.
  8. Terms of Service: Read, understand and acknowledge the Terms of Service of any social media platform employed.

6.2 Practical Application of Social Media at Mohawk

If you are a contributor on a college-sponsored social media account or use social media in the working and learning environment, the following must be adhered to:

  1. College-sponsored account management: All existing college-sponsored social media accounts must be approved and logged with PAMSI. Administrative access must be provided to the Marketing division within PAMSI, this includes password, login and a list of all social media account contributors. When page contributors have left the college and no longer require access to social media accounts, the manager must update/adjust the contributors immediately and notify socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca of the changes. To log an existing college-sponsored social media account, please contact socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca.

    The Marketing division reserves the right to disable or temporarily unpublish college-sponsored social media accounts that are dormant (no posts or activity) for more than six months or duplicate existing accounts.
  2. Institutional Voice: Posts on social media sites must protect the College’s institutional voice by remaining professional in tone and in good taste. No individual Mohawk employee or department unit shall construe their corporate-sponsored accounts as representing the College as a whole. Social media monitoring captures most daily online conversations relating to the college. College communications will intervene should there be questionable activity. 
  3. College-sponsored account creation and approval: If your Department or Faculty would like to create a social media page, contact socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca. Accounts created outside of the approval process will be contacted directly and requested to close the account.
  4. Paid advertising: All paid advertising on social media is run through the Marketing division of PAMSI. Should you have an interest in advertising please contact socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca.
  5. Follow social media best practices: If you are a social media contributor on a college-sponsored account it is mandatory for you to attend a Social Media Training session. To request social media training for your department please contact socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca. Social media best practices can be found on Zendesk and MyMohawk.
  6. Take Ownership: Identify your views as your own. If you identify yourself as a Mohawk College faculty or staff member online, it must be clear that the views expressed are not necessarily those of the institution. 
  7. Think Twice Before Posting: Consider what could happen if a post becomes widely shared and how that may reflect both the individual and the College. Being transparent does not mean that you need to provide personal information. Do not provide telephone numbers, personal addresses or any other confidential information, including Mohawk College email addresses in posts. Consider sharing this information privately if needed, publicly sharing could make you a target for phishing or other fraudulent email activities. If you are unsure, ask your supervisor or contact socialmedia [at] mohawkcollege.ca.
  8. Crisis Communications: In the event of a Crisis, social media will be among the primary channels for communicating with students, staff and the community through the Flagship Mohawk College accounts. In a Crisis all communications via social media will be managed by Mohawk College Communications (extension 3965 or extension 2127). No posts should be shared in the event of a school closure or crisis on college-sponsored social media accounts without the express approval from Mohawk College Communications.
     

7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

November 2024

7.2 Responsibility

The Associate Vice President, Public Affairs, Marketing and Strategic Initiatives will review this policy, every five years or earlier when required. 
 

8. Attachments

This space has been left intentionally blank.
 

9. Specific Links