Social Media Policy

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This Policy outlines James Cook University’s expectations of Staff, Students and Affiliates with respect to the publication or posting of content, opinion and other contributions on Social Media, particularly 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 principles and expectations in this Policy provide JCU with an effective way to manage, monitor and maintain the use of Social Media for its Staff, Students and Affiliates, supporting them to make a meaningful and high-quality contribution to public debate on issues at a local, national and international level.

The expectations articulated in this Policy do not detract from the University’s commitment to intellectual or academic freedom as outlined in the University’s Enterprise Agreement (as amended or replaced from time to time). This Policy also supports and refers to other JCU policies and procedures which explain the conduct expected of members of the University community at all times when they are engaged in University-related activities.


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

  • create content and social media sites on behalf of JCU or one of its controlled entities;
  • post content on social media platforms that are managed, owned or controlled by JCU or one of its controlled entities;
  • act, or purport to act, as an authorised representative of the University via any Social Media platform;
  • use Social Media in a Personal Capacity and identify their connection with the University; 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.

In social media networks, the lines between public and private, personal and professional can be blurred so Staff, Students and Affiliates must be aware that what is intended to be said in a personal capacity may be linked or associated with the University.

This Policy does not apply to:

  • the use of Social Media by a member of the JCU University Community where there is no identifiable connection with the University, its Staff, Students or Affiliates; or
  • communications which are made in a private and personal capacity, unrelated to University business, University affiliations or University activities, and, which do not use JCU’s ICT and network infrastructure.

There may be unrelated profiles, pages or accounts that have no clear connection with the University but may include comments about the University. The University is not able to directly influence these accounts, apart from conversations with site authors and platform owners.  Examples include online communities that informally discuss higher education issues or university study experiences.


Except as otherwise specified in this Policy, the meaning of terms used in this Policy are as per the Policy Glossary. This Policy uses the following defined terms:


An Affiliate is a person (other than a Staff member or Student) who is affiliated with JCU by letter of appointment or invitation to work, or 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 or 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 or platform that uses the University’s logo and/or name, and represents the University.

Personal Capacity

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

Social Media

Are websites, online platforms, and online applications that 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 (which can be the form of information or opinions) and promote social connections and conversations. Social Media may include but is 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 and online collaboration tools (eg: Wikipedia)
  • Vod and podcasting
  • Email and instant messaging
  • Virtual communities (eg: Second Life)
  • Apps or applications (eg: SnapChat, WhatsApp, WeChat)
  • Any other websites that allow individual users or organisations to post comments to the web.


The University:

  • encourages and supports the ideal of the ‘engaged academic’, ‘engaged Student’ or ‘engaged Affiliate’ who, via Social Media and public commentary, are participating in the sharing of information, opinions and ideas that showcase the University’s research and scholarly expertise and the delivery of learning and support services, or otherwise contribute to public discourse;
  • expects that the same high standards of communication, behaviour and conduct are observed and complied with 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 and provide flexible teaching and learning opportunities;
  • 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.

Staff, Students and Affiliates must be mindful of the speed and reach of content posted on social media. Comments posted online are available immediately to a wide audience.

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 relevant University appointment when engaging on Social Media in their Official Capacity.
  2. All Official JCU Social Media sites are to comply with the University’s policies and procedures on Use of Corporate Identifiers and other branding requirements. Official University Social Media accounts, channels or networks are to be developed in consultation with JCU Marketing where relevant
  3. Any accounts, pages or platforms existing without prior authorisation as required will be subject to review when discovered and may be amended or removed. Unofficial JCU related Social Media presences (e.g. student clubs and student administered study groups) not managed or approved by the University must not use the JCU logo, purport to represent the University, breach the social media platform terms of service, or breach the relevant Code of Conduct, or ICT Acceptable Use Policy.
  4. Staff will communicate in a professional manner 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Staff, Students and Affiliates will not disclose confidential information or information that may bring the University into disrepute, on Social Media.
  8. Staff, Students and Affiliates are to respect the privacy of others and at all times to comply with the University’s Information Privacy Policy, related legislation and subordinate legislation.
  9. Staff, Students and Affiliates are to respect copyright and 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 attribution and/or acknowledgment of that work. This may include photographs, videos or slide presentations.
  10. At all times while engaged in Social Media, Staff, Students and Affiliates will act in accordance with the University’s Staff and Student Codes of Conduct (as appropriate), the Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures, and other applicable policies, procedures and charters of the University.
  11. Staff, Students and Affiliates’ Social Media use in connection with JCU must not breach privacy, copyright, human rights and anti-discrimination laws, or any other laws. Interactions on JCU’s Social Medial are not to include  content that is illegal, harassing, hateful, or racist including but not limited to:
    1. profanity;
    2. spurious or derogatory comments;
    3. sexually explicit language, videos or images;
    4. copyrighted material (without lawful excuse or permission);
    5. defamatory content; or
    6. another person’s personal information (including phone numbers and email addresses).
  12. Staff, Students and Affiliates may also have a duty of care to maintain the standards of their professional discipline when using online Social Media, for example, when undertaking clinical or professional practice/placements. Any inappropriate use of Social Media may have reporting or registrations ramifications under a discipline-specific code of ethics or professional conduct requirements (such as Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency,or the Queensland College of Teachers). Where applicable, Official JCU Sites will meet Accessibility Standards and guidelines.
  13. 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. Guidance for moderators can be found in the JCU Social Media Guidelines.
  14. 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, particularly when the posting is false or misleading.  The University will take action to the extent possible where it considers a posting breaches this or any other Policy.

Reporting and Complaints regarding the use of Social Media

  1. Any person can report content they believe is inappropriate to the site Administrator or, where relevant, the Moderator of the specific Social Media website, online platform or online application on which the content appears.
  2. Any person can also report serious cyber-bullying or stalking behaviour to the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN).
  3. Any reporting or complaint regarding the moderation of a JCU Official Social Media site needs to be addressed at first instance with the site’s moderator.
  4. Any complaint regarding use of Social Media will be managed through the processes identified in the Staff or Student Code of Conduct; the Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy; or the Copyright Policy or Information Privacy Policy – whichever is most relevant to the nature of the report or complaint.

Related policy instruments

Staff Code of Conduct

Student Code of Conduct

Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Digital Technologies Acceptable Use Policy

Copyright Policy and Procedure

Information Privacy Policy

Health, Safety and Environment Policy

Statement on Use of Corporate Identifiers Policy

Divisional Professional Experience Placement Procedures where relevant

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



18-118-10-201818-10-2018Amendment to policy given Student Code of Conduct establishment and revised Bullying, Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policies, refined to make clear its scope, intent, and expectations for the use of Social Media in the context of those policies.Chief of Staff




Policy Established

Chief of Staff

Contact person:Chief of Staff


Social media