Social Media Policy

Social Media Policy

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To provide James Cook University (JCU or the University) with an effective way to manage, monitor and maintain the use of Social Media for its Staff, Students and Affiliates to make a meaningful and high-quality contribution to public debate on issues at a local, national and international level.

This Policy outlines the University’s expectations of Staff, Students and Affiliates with respect to the use of Social Media where there is an identifiable connection with the University (regardless of whether the posting is on a JCU Social Media site or on an external site).

The expectations articulated in this Policy are not intended to detract from the University’s commitment to intellectual freedom as outlined in the University’s Enterprise Agreements (as amended or replaced from time to time).


This policy applies to all University Staff, Affiliates and Students who:

  • represent the University via Social Media in an Official Capacity; and/or
  • use Social Media in a Personal Capacity where there is an identifiable connection with the University; and/or
  • where the use of Social Media may adversely impact or affect the University or members of the University community (including Staff, Students and Affiliates).

This Policy does not apply to the use of Social Media where there is no identifiable connection with the University, its Staff, Students or Affiliates.



Is a person (other than a Staff member or Student) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, research or study at the University for a particular activity and for a prescribed timeframe and who is bound to comply with the University’s policies  during that period.

Official Capacity

Use of Social Media as an official, authorised representative of the University in the conduct of teaching, research and engagement or other professional activity

Official Social Media site

Means any Social Media account that uses the University’s logo and/or name, and represents the University on an official level.

Personal Capacity

Use of Social Media in a capacity other than an Official Capacity.

Social Media

Are websites and online applications which are designed to allow information to be created, shared, discussed and disseminated. Social Media include the sites, tools, channels and platforms used to publish user-generated content and promote social connections and conversations. Social Media may include but are not limited to:

  • Social   networking sites (eg: Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace)
  • Video   and photo sharing website (eg: YouTube, Flickr)
  • Blogs,   including corporate blogs, personal blogs or blogs hosted by media   publications
  • Micro-blogging   sites (eg: Twitter)
  • Forums   and discussion boards (eg: Google groups, Whirlpool)
  • Wikis   (eg: Wikipedia)
  • Vod   and podcasting
  • Email   and instant messaging
  • Virtual   communities (eg: Second Life)
  • Apps   (eg: SnapChat)
  • Any other websites that allow individual   users or companies to post comments to the web.


Employees of James Cook University.


Has the meaning in the Policy Glossary 


The University:

  • encourages and supports the ideal of the ‘engaged academic’, ‘engaged Student’ or ‘engaged Affiliate’ who via Social Media and public commentary is participating in the sharing of information, opinion and ideas that showcase the University’s research and scholarly expertise;
  • reinforces that the same high standards of communication, behaviour and conduct are expected online as those standards that are expected personally in the workplace and/or in the study environment;
  • recognises the power of Social Media to communicate beyond traditional audiences;
  • sees the potential to enable Staff, Students and Affiliates to engage utilising a platform of equity; and
  • understands Social Media provides succinct communication options across multiple platforms.

Use of Social Media

The following expectations apply to Staff, Student and Affiliates’ use of official or personal Social Media where there is an identifiable connection with the University:

  1. Staff are to identify themselves using their University appointment and qualifications when engaging on Social Media in their Official Capacity.
  2. All Official Social Media sites are to comply with the University’s policies and procedures on Use of Corporate Identifiers and other branding requirements.
  3. Staff will maintain professional standards and otherwise comply with the Code of Conduct when they are using Social Media in their Official Capacity or are otherwise associating themselves with the University.
  4. Individual Staff are only to offer advice, support or comment on topics that fall within their area of responsibility and/or academic or professional expertise, and to not misrepresent their expertise.
  5. Staff, Students and Affiliates are to act in good faith and to uphold the good reputation of the University when initiating or responding to Social Media.
  6. Staff, Students and Affiliates will not disclose confidential information or information which may bring the University into disrepute, on Social Media.
  7. Staff, Students and Affiliates are to respect the privacy of others and at all times to comply with the University’s Information Privacy Policy and related legislation.
  8. Staff, Students and Affiliates are to respect copyright and should not post, or seek to post, content that includes material that is not their original work or that in any way infringes copyright or the intellectual property of another person (including the University) without proper due reference and/or acknowledgment of that work. This may include photographs or slide presentations.
  9. At all times while engaged in Social Media, Staff, Students and Affiliates will act in accordance with the University’s Code of Conduct or the Student Conduct Policy (as appropriate), the Discrimination and Harassment: Policy and Procedure, and other applicable policies, procedures and charters of the University.
  10. Staff, Students and Affiliates will not post content that is illegal, harassing, hateful, racist or harmful to an individual or group’s reputation (either personal or professional), including but not limited to, posts that contain:
    1. profanity;
    2. spurious or derogatory comments;
    3. sexually explicit language or images;
    4. copyrighted material (without lawful excuse);
    5. defamatory content; or
    6. another person’s information (including phone numbers and email addresses).

Consequences of Breach

  1. Breaches of this Policy will be addressed through the disciplinary procedures prescribed for Staff (including the University’s Code of Conduct and the Enterprise Agreement as amended or replaced from time to time), Students (including the Student Conduct Policy), and Affiliates. Depending upon the severity and implications of the breach, sanctions may include a warning, counselling and/or other disciplinary action (such as suspension or termination of employment, or suspension or exclusion from the University).
  2. The University monitors its Official Social Media sites and may determine, in its absolute discretion, to remove (without notice) any content including comments, photos, videos or other content that is considered inappropriate.
  3. The University will examine postings on external Social Media sites of which it becomes aware, that threaten or incite harm to its Staff, Students and Affiliates, or facilities, or any postings that threaten the University’s reputation.  The University will take action where it considers a posting breaches its policies.

Related policy instruments

Code of Conduct

Student Conduct Policy

Student Charter

Information Communication Technology Acceptable Use Policy

Copyright Policy and Procedure

Information Privacy Policy

Cybersecurity Policy

Health, Safety and Environment Policy

Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment Policy

Statement on Use of Corporate Identifiers Policy



Related documents and legislation


NOTE: Printed copies of this policy are uncontrolled, and currency can only be assured at the time of printing.

Approval Details

Policy Sponsor

Vice Chancellor

Approval Authority


Date for next Major Review (in accordance with the Policy Handbook)


Revision History


Approval date

Implementation date






Policy Established

Chief of Staff


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