Our social media policy

1.1 Here at London Met, we recognise the benefits and opportunities that social media can provide as a tool for interactive engagement between students, staff and members of the public. We also acknowledge the opportunities social media provides for the exercise of free speech, intellectual or policy debate and the rapid provision of useful information and advice.

1.2 There is an inherent risk involved in using social media in that, as an instantaneous and far-reaching form of communication, inappropriate use can impact on staff, students and the reputation of the University. The University encourages you to engage, collaborate and innovate through social media but, wherever and however you do this, you must be aware of the potential impact on both you and the University.

1.3 Staff and students are expected to be aware of and adhere to this policy and other relevant University policies and procedures that apply in this context, particularly the Acceptable Use Policy, Password Policy and Guidelines, Equality and Diversity Policy, Harassment Policy (staff login required), and Discipline and Student Conduct Procedures.

2.1 For the purposes of this policy, social media is defined as any type of interactive online media that allows you to communicate instantly in a public forum. This includes sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube, as well as blogs, forums and other similar sites.

2.2 This policy applies to all staff and students of the University and includes actions taken within or outside working/teaching hours, on or off University premises, whether using University­-provided IT hardware, software, networks or not, and whether or not the social media activity is overtly related to the University or not.

3.1 Nothing in this policy is intended to have the effect of limiting either freedom of speech within the law or academic freedom.

4.1 The following general rules apply whether posting to a personal account or one affiliated with the University. A University-affiliated social media account is defined as any site that could reasonably be perceived to be associated with or represent the University. This includes:

4.1.1 The main University social media channels (@LondonMetUni)

4.1.2 Support sites such as the @londonmetuni_IT Twitter account

4.1.3 Academic sites such as the School of Social Sciences Facebook account

4.1.4 Any social media sites that, by their content or look, could be perceived as being associated with the University

4.1.5 Student societies registered with the Students’ Union

4.2 Staff and students should post content with the understanding that everything will be public and permanent, regardless of the privacy settings they assume are applied.

4.3 Staff and students should be aware that social media content may easily be shared with the public, including the University’s students and the media, and inappropriate use could damage their own reputation and career prospects, as well as the reputation of the University.

4.4 Staff and students should be familiar with the terms and conditions for any social media platforms they use and be aware that many social networking companies specify that, by posting on their systems, the company is granted irrevocable, perpetual, non­exclusive license to use and distribute content for any purpose, be it commercial, advertising or otherwise.

4.5 When using a personal social media account, staff and students should include, where appropriate, a disclaimer stating that the views expressed are their own and not those of the University, such as: “The views expressed here are my own and in no way reflect the views of London Metropolitan University.”

4.6 Social media should not be used for the purposes of recruitment or selection of staff or students, other than to advertise positions at the University and to deal with enquiries from prospective staff and students through official University websites and accounts, or if a specific network is identified as part of a recruitment process and the applicant is notified it will be used.

4.7 The following standards must be used when posting to any social media account for any purpose, whether the content is text, images, video, audio, or links to other sources:

4.7.1 Staff and students should respect the dignity and privacy of others and should always consider how their online behaviour may affect others, themselves and the University.

4.7.2 Staff and students should adhere to the official University Copyright License Agency Higher Education Licence and check permissions on any content being shared. Staff and students should also adhere to UK copyright law, data or intellectual property protection law and any other relevant legislation. Any needed permission should be secured prior to posting, sharing or distributing any third-party materials.

4.7.3 Staff and students should not use the University logo or branding on their personal accounts.

4.7.4 Staff and students must not use social media for any of the following:

4.7.4.1 To post material that could be deemed to be threatening, harassing, discriminatory, illegal, obscene, defamatory, libellous, or hostile towards any individual or entity.

4.7.4.2 To express support for illegal activities or organisations.

4.7.4.3 To air internal grievances, infringe on the rights and privacy of colleagues or students or make ill-considered comments or judgments about staff or students.

4.7.4.4 To share confidential or sensitive information about the University and its associated entities, such as funding bids, personnel matters, business strategy, sensitive data exposure, or non-public news.

4.7.4.5 To infringe or violate someone else’s rights.

4.7.4.6 To post personally identifiable information that could be used to locate any individual without that person's written permission.

4.7.4.7 To post spam, which is unwanted content appearing such as bulk messages, profanity, insults, hate speech, malicious links, fraudulent reviews, fake friends, and or personally identifiable information.

4.7.4.8 To post another person’s personal information, including photographs and/or videos without the consent of the individual to whom it relates.

4.7.4.9 To post content likely to have a negative impact on professional standards and/or the University’s reputation.

4.7.4.10 To post content that could create a security risk for the University, its staff or students.

4.7.4.11 To post content that is in any way unlawful, which includes any violation of copyright law mentioned above.

4.7.4.12 To post content that represents themselves or the University in a false or misleading way. All statements must be true and not misleading, and all claims must be substantiated.

4.8 Staff should seek guidance before posting on social media when the topic being discussed may be considered sensitive, eg a crisis situation, intellectual property, issues that may impact on the University’s reputation.

4.9 The University reserves the right to monitor any social media sites that affiliate themselves with the University and, where necessary, to request the removal of sites that reflect negatively on the University or the removal of content that infringes on the University’s copyright or implies an unauthorised association, eg references the University’s logo and related imagery.

5.1 Anyone wishing to create a University-affiliated social media site must obtain approval from their Head of School or Director of their professional service department and from the Director of Marketing and Communications.

5.2 If you set up a University-affiliated social media site, you become the administrator for that site on behalf of the University and are responsible for maintaining the site and moderating content. It is important that you register the account with a generic (not a personal) email address, eg marketing@londonmet.ac.uk, and at least one other member of staff has an account with administrator access to the site in order to ensure continuity and to assist with moderation. For main accounts representing large groups within the University, it is recommended that the marketing team is provided with an administrator account as a back-up for University access as needed for issues pertaining to this policy.

5.3 University-affiliated sites must be registered through the University’s social media account registration form. Please note that the form requires confirmation that the Head of School or Director has approved the creation of the site and must include contact details of two site administrators.

5.4 Staff and students are responsible for ensuring that passwords and other access controls for University social media accounts are of adequate strength and kept secure, and are fully responsible for any actions that take place using the account. Passwords should be regularly changed in line with University regulations, should be changed when staff leave or change responsibilities, and under no circumstances should passwords be shared. Staff and students should be familiar with privacy settings and ensure that these are appropriate for both content and the intended audience. If a site is no longer required or has been inactive for three months or more, the administrator should deactivate or permanently delete the account as appropriate and contact social@londonmet.ac.uk to inform the marketing team that the account is no longer active.

5.5 Care should be taken when naming accounts to maintain consistency and to ensure accounts can be easily identified as University-affiliated accounts. Please note that the abbreviation LMU is not associated with London Met. Please see our guidelines for branding University-affiliated social media accounts.

5.6 Site administrators must have an understanding of the basic principles and etiquette associated with the management of an effective social media site. The University has the right to delete unsupervised accounts.

6.1 University-affiliated social media sites should encourage users to share their views by commenting on content within the following standards:

6.1.1 Typically, posts by genuine social media users where content is accurate but deemed negative towards the University will be left online. This will encourage debate, demonstrate transparency and establish authenticity.

6.1.2 Comments must be relevant to the topic being discussed.

6.1.3 Comments should be constructive and absent of expletives, obscenity and vulgarity.

6.1.4 Posts that are off-topic, abusive, incite hatred and violence, contain profanity, are threatening in tone or devolve into personal attacks should be deleted immediately, where applicable, and reported, if necessary.

6.1.5 Any comments or replies to University account content that fall into any of the categories mentioned in 4.7.4 may be removed or reported and the account responsible for posting these comments or replies may be blocked by the University.

6.1.6 Posts with links that are determined to be spam, sales, advertising or infringe copyright should be removed immediately.

6.1.7 If in doubt about what to do with questionable content, especially anything directed at the University, seek the advice of the marketing team by contacting social@londonmet.ac.uk. At the same time, you should also inform your line manager.

6.1.8 Where possible, guidelines for posting content should be prominently displayed on the social media site, along with a statement that the site administrator reserves the right to review all comments and posted materials and remove such materials for any reason.

6.1.9 Where possible, complaints should be dealt with privately via direct message or email, not in a public forum.

6.1.10 University-affiliated social media sites should be monitored and updated on a regular basis.

6.1.11 Where a user’s post raises a duty of care issue, site administrators should seek advice from the appropriate unit, eg student services.

7.1 Knowing the contents of this and other relevant policies and their procedures.

7.2 Addressing concerns or questions regarding posts and comments via official or personal accounts.

7.3 Reporting outcomes to the marketing team via social@londonmet.ac.uk or escalating the matter to involve appropriate external agencies where required.

8.1 Where conduct is found to be unacceptable, the University will deal with the matter internally. Where conduct is considered illegal, the University will report the matter to the police and any other relevant external agencies, and may take action according to the University’s Staff Disciplinary Procedure (staff login required) or Student Disciplinary Regulations.

8.2 Staff wishing to make a complaint about a potential breach of the University’s Social Media Policy may do so through the University’s staff grievance procedures. Students can make a complaint about other students through a Report of Alleged Misconduct or about staff through the University’s Student Complaints Procedure

8.3 The University’s response to any misuse of social media in a personal capacity will be reasonable and proportionate to the perceived offence, the nature of the postings/comments made and the impact or potential impact on the University.

9.1 This policy is maintained by the University’s marketing team and has been approved by the University Secretary’s Office.

9.2 Any questions relating to this policy should be referred to the marketing team by emailing social@londonmet.ac.uk.

9.3 The impact of this policy will be monitored regularly to reflect the changing online environment and technologies.

10.1 The University welcomes all constructive feedback on this and any other policy. If you would like further information on social media, or wish to send us your comments on our Social Media Policy, please contact social@londonmet.ac.uk.