The University of Kansas encourages interaction from social media users but is not responsible for comments or postings made by visitors to the page. Comments posted by visitors do not in any way reflect the opinions or policies of the university.
The university reserves the right, but assumes no obligation, to remove comments it deems to be threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, off-topic or duplicative, or that advocate illegal activity, incite violence, or make ad hominem attacks on KU students, employees, or guests. We also may remove messages selling products or promoting commercial, political, or other ventures, or messages that violate intellectual property rights or privacy laws or are otherwise unlawful.
Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube encourage users to use the “Report” links when they find abusive content.
If you need to report an incident of discrimination or harassment, you should file an official complaint with KU’s Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access. If the situation at hand is an emergency, please contact your local police by calling 911.
When the university creates a Facebook page or other social media account for community interaction, it creates a forum for public comment. That digital forum – similar to an in-person forum on campus – is protected, which means members of the public have rights to express opinions within the limitations of the university’s community guidelines.
As a general rule, as a university account manager, if you post an item on a university account, you should be comfortable with the reality that your post may result in comments that are negative, offensive, untrue or not germane to the topic, and that these comments will likely be protected speech.
Addressing negative or offensive comments
As a public institution, we are properly the subject of criticism. Where comments are open, you should expect that negative or critical comments may be made. Most readers of social media understand that statements made by commenters are not statements of the university.
Accordingly, you should not delete comments simply because you disagree with the commenter’s point of view, or because you find the comments mean or unfriendly. You are not to decide what is true or not true. Rather, your only role is to make sure that posts do not violate our community guidelines. Only where posts violate the community guidelines should you remove them. Of course, if you encounter a threatening post, contact the KU Public Safety Office and Marketing Communications.
If an online commenter posts an inaccurate, accusatory, or negative comment about the university, it is recommended that you respond to the inaccuracy in a positive and polite way. If the communications become antagonistic or deal with sensitive topics, ask Public Affairs or Marketing Communications for advice before responding. Remember that private messaging often is the most effective way to communicate with certain followers. Also remember that the content of your private message may also be posted into a user’s comment.
If there is a situation in which a comment or comments under a university post have become particularly worrisome to you as the account manager, another option is to remove the original university post altogether, which effectively eliminates the forum that was created.
Muting, restricting, and blocking accounts
When a social media user repeatedly violates our community standards, you may consider muting, restricting, or blocking an account. Taking any of these actions should generally only be done as a last resort and only for clear and repeated violations of community guidelines. Normally, such action should not be taken without approval by the Office of the General Counsel.
Accounts should not be blocked or muted or otherwise restricted without a history of violations of the community guidelines. Prior to taking any such action, we should make sure we have records of those violations – screenshots or prints of the posts violating our guidelines, including the KU post or tweet under which the offender’s post appeared.
Further, such users should generally be notified in advance that their posts have violated the community guidelines and the further violations may result in the user being blocked – so that users have notice and the opportunity to be heard prior to any account restrictions being imposed.
Again, such permanent account restrictions should only be used as a last resort and after careful examination of the reasons for considering such action.