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Social Media Guidelines for Personal Accounts

Social Media Guidelines | Personal Accounts

These guidelines supplement DHRM Policy 1.75: Use of Electronic Communications and Social Media, which states that “personal use of social media that refers to any aspect of the work environment should be done in a responsible and professional manner.”

These guidelines apply to personal social media accounts only.  For procedures and guidelines on posting to official university social media accounts, please see: University Policy 1127.

Social media enables employees to engage in new forms of communication and networking, which can greatly enrich their professional and academic lives. However, it also has the potential to damage personal and professional reputations, and in turn, negatively affect the reputation of the institution. When employees use any form of social media, they must be aware that any statement made on social media is public and permanent.  Any content shared on a non-password-protected platform immediately becomes searchable, and any online content can be shared by anyone with access to it.

Statements posted on an employee’s personal social media account that refer to aspects of the work environment must comply with all applicable laws, including the Family Education Rights and Policies Act (FERPA), which requires Mason to protect the confidentiality of student academic records, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which requires that protected health information be safeguarded against unauthorized access or use. Statements made on personal social media that refer to aspects of the work environment should also comply with all University Policies, including Policy 1127: University Affiliated Social Media Sites, Policy 1201: Non-Discrimination Policy, Policy 1202: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct, and Policy 1301: Responsible Use of Computing.

Employees’ personal social media statements on any topic can be interpreted as representing Mason as an institution.  As such all employees, but particularly those who are involved in personnel decisions, or who have leadership responsibilities, should exercise particular discretion so as not to be misinterpreted.   Individuals who identify themselves as Mason employees or who have a public-facing position for which their association with the university is publically known, should include on their social media pages a disclaimer which notes that the opinions represented are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the university.

Disclaimer

Where appropriate, include a social media disclaimer, or a link to the disclaimer on the George Mason social media website, somewhere on your social media account, provided the site allows comments or posts by others. The content of the social media disclaimer is as follows:

This is a page designed to promote George Mason University. Mason encourages users to post comments, photos, videos and links that are respectful and meaningful on the Mason wall and within the comment threads of Mason content. Postings and comments that include sensitive data, confidential information, profanity, personal attacks or other inappropriate material are not appropriate and, in extreme situations, may be removed from this page.
You are fully responsible for the content that you share. Postings or comments made by individuals on this page do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Mason or any of the university’s divisions. This page is not to be used for solicitation of sales and/or the promotion of any goods and/or services. We will take steps to block users who violate these posting standards.