University Station Alliance

Linking public broadcasting stations and their university partners since 2001

Social Media Policy/Guidelines Sample

“THE STATION” Employee Handbook Internet Usage

Effective Date:

Internet access to global electronic information resources on the World Wide Web is provided by “THE STATION” to assist employees in obtaining work-related data and technology. The following guidelines have been established to help ensure responsible and productive Internet usage. While Internet usage is intended for job-related activities, incidental and occasional brief personal use is permitted within reasonable limits.

All Internet data that is composed, transmitted, or received via our computer communications systems is considered to be part of the official records of “THE STATION” and, as such, is subject to disclosure to law enforcement or other third parties. Consequently, employees should always ensure that the business information contained in Internet email messages and other transmissions is accurate, appropriate, ethical, and lawful.

The equipment, services, and technology provided to access the Internet remain at all times the property of “THE STATION”. As such, “THE STATION” reserves the right to monitor Internet traffic, and retrieve and read any data composed, sent, or received through our online connections and stored in our computer systems.

Data that is composed, transmitted, accessed, or received via the Internet must not contain content that could be considered discriminatory, offensive, obscene, threatening, harassing, intimidating, or disruptive to any employee or other person. Examples of unacceptable content may include, but are not limited to, sexual comments or images, racial slurs, gender-specific comments, or any other comments or images that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of race, age, sex, religious or political beliefs, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, or any other characteristic protected by law.

The unauthorized use, installation, copying, or distribution of copyrighted, trademarked, or patented material on the Internet is expressly prohibited. As a general rule, if an employee did not create material, does not own the rights to it, or has not gotten authorization for its use, it should not be put on the Internet. Employees are also responsible for ensuring that the person sending any material over the Internet has the appropriate distribution rights.

Abuse of the Internet access provided by “THE STATION” in violation of law or “THE STATION” policies will result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Employees may also be held personally liable for any violations of this policy. The following behaviors are examples of previously stated or additional actions and activities that are prohibited and can result in disciplinary action:

  • Sending or posting discriminatory, harassing, or threatening messages or images
  • Using the organization’s time and resources for personal gain
  • Copying, pirating, or downloading software and electronic files without permission
  • Violating copyright law
  • Failing to observe licensing agreements
  • Sending or posting messages or material that could damage the organization’s image or reputation
  • Participating in the viewing or exchange of pornography or obscene materials
  • Sending or posting messages that defame or slander other individuals
  • Sending or posting messages that disparage another organization’s products or services
  • Engaging in any other illegal activities

Use of Social Media Sites

“THE STATION” recognizes the value of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as networking and information gathering tools. Information you post on these sites, even if you intend them to be personal messages, can be easily accessed and circulated beyond your intended audience. As such, there can be no expectation of individual privacy rights to anything posted on the Internet. All employees are expected to observe the highest ethical standards and should do nothing to undermine “THE STATION’s” credibility with the public or to damage “THE STATION’s” standing in the community. The following guidelines can prove useful to all staff using these sites:

When you are participating in social networking, you are representing both yourselves personally and “THE STATION”. It is not our intention to restrict your ability to have an online presence and to mandate what you can and cannot say. We believe social networking is a very valuable tool and continue to advocate the responsible involvement of all “THE STATION” employees in this space. While we encourage this online collaboration, we would like to provide you with a policy and set of guidelines for appropriate online conduct and to avoid the misuse of this communication medium.

Policy Guidelines: “Assume anything you say could be repeated on-air.”

  • Do not post any financial, confidential, sensitive or proprietary information about “THE STATION” or any of our donors, staff, or board members.
  • Speak respectfully about our current, former and potential donors, partners, employees and competitors. Do not engage in name-calling or behavior that will reflect negatively on your or “THE STATION”’s reputations. The same guidelines hold true for “THE STATION” vendors and business partners.
  • Beware of comments that could reflect poorly on you and the organization. Social media sites are not the forum for venting personal complaints about supervisors, co- workers, or the organization.
  • As a “THE STATION” employee, be aware that you are responsible for the content you post and that information remains in cyberspace forever.
  • Use privacy settings when appropriate. Remember, the internet is immediate and nothing posted is ever truly private nor does it expire.
  • If you see unfavorable opinions, negative comments or criticism about yourself or “THE STATION”, do not try to have the post removed or send a written reply that will escalate the situation. Forward this information to our internal Human Resources and Marketing Departments.
  • If you are posting to personal networking sites and are speaking about job related content or about “THE STATION”, identify yourself as a “THE STATION” employee and use a disclaimer and make it clear that these views are not reflective of the views of “THE STATION”. “The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not necessarily represent the views of “THE STATION”.”
  • Many sites like Facebook and Twitter blur the lines between business and personal. Keep this in mind.
  • Be respectful of others. Think of what you say online in the same way as statements you might make to the media, or emails you might send to people you don’t know. Stick to the facts, try to give accurate information and correct mistakes right away.
  • Do not post obscenities, slurs or personal attacks that can damage both your reputation as well as “THE STATION’s”.
  • When posting to social media sites, be knowledgeable, interesting, honest and add value. “THE STATION’s” outstanding reputation and brand is a direct result of our employees and their commitment to uphold our community values of Fairness, Respect, Honesty, Trust, and Integrity.
  • Do not infringe on copyrights or trademarks. Don’t use images without permission and remember to cite where you saw information if it’s not your own thoughts.
  • Be aware that you are not anonymous when you make online comments. Information on your networking profiles is published in a very public place. Even if you post anonymously or under a pseudonym, your identity can still be revealed.
  • If contacted by the media, refer them to the Marketing Department.

“THE STATION” may monitor content out on the web and reserves the right to remove posts that violate this policy. Social Media Policy/Guidelines

Users who violate the Policy may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment. If you have any questions about this policy or a specific posting out on the web, please contact the CFO.