UC Davis Social Media Policy and Guidelines

Social Media Policy and General Guidelines for the UC Davis Community

UC Davis recognizes the vital role that social media* plays in communicating, collaborating and interacting with students, faculty, staff and the general public. We encourage you to use social media to connect with the UC Davis community to foster a place for vibrant and thoughtful engagement.

As a university committed to the highest standards of freedom of speech and expression, we encourage everyone to get involved and participate in social media.

The following policies and community guidelines are meant to help all members of UC Davis engage with social media responsibly, whether it is in an official capacity or a personal one.

8 simple guidelines for members of the UC Davis social media community

The following guidelines apply to members of the UC Davis social media community, including, but not limited to, students, faculty, staff, administrators and members of the greater community.

Use these guidelines as you participate on UC Davis-hosted social networks or online in your official capacity tied to the university.

  • Be transparent. Be honest about who you are. Clearly identify yourself and fully disclose any affiliation you may have with UC Davis; this can be a simple reference in your bio or in an online statement. When referencing UC Davis online, make it clear that you’re sharing your personal opinion and are not communicating on behalf of the university. A simple example of a disclaimer is “I work for UC Davis. Thoughts shared here are my own.”

  • Protect personal information. For safety and security reasons, please refrain from posting any personal contact information (home and cellphone numbers, mailing or home addresses, personal email addresses, license plates, etc.) on social media sites, neither yours or someone else’s. Remember that everything you post on social media is public and can live on forever, but also could have severe impacts on privacy and safety.

  • Respect intellectual property laws. It is critical that you adhere to laws governing copyright and fair use of copyrighted material owned by others, including UC Davis’ own copyrights, trademarks and brands. Personal webpages and social media accounts (of faculty, staff or students) may not use UC Davis logos, seals or other campus trademarks. In the spirit of sharing on social networks, it’s best to link to others’ work and give them the proper credit, rather than to reproduce it.

  • No endorsements. We encourage you to use social media to share information about your work at UC Davis. However, any advertising, solicitation or overtly favorable acknowledgments or endorsements of third-party products and services is not permitted from university accounts, except with express written permission of the university, in compliance with university policy.

  • Stay on topic. Remember to stay on topic. It can be difficult and frustrating for users to find information and/or to meaningfully contribute to the discussion when there is too much additional commentary unrelated to the topic of the posting.

  • Inspire dialogue. We strive to create an online environment that is welcoming, mutually respectful and inclusive, consistent with the university’s Principles of Community. Civil and respectful dialogue promotes productive conversations with different ideas and points of view.

    You are free to discuss and disagree with others regarding topics relevant to the purpose of the social media platform, but please don’t use ethnic and racial slurs, hateful speech, personal attacks, abusive language, nudity or pornography. If participating on the UC Davis social media channels, be aware of our comment policy and our right to remove content that violates it.

  • Know the policies and procedures related to social media. UC Davis reserves the right to block or remove the content of any post that violates UC Davis policies. Please be aware of the following policies and procedures.

  • Be aware of the Social Media Privacy Act.

    The Social Media Privacy Act, passed by the California Legislature in September 2012, prohibits public and private college employees and representatives from requiring or requesting a student, prospective student or student group to disclose, access or divulge personal social media account information.

    All content, information and views expressed on social media belong to the individual posting the content and do not necessarily reflect UC Davis’ official policies or positions. The university is not responsible for unanswered posts or inaccurate information posted by others.

10 tips to help safeguard your social media engagement 

  • Avoid using your full name. Avoid creating social media handles that have your full first, middle and last names. If using social media to advance your professional career, consider just revealing your first and last name and not revealing your middle or other surnames.
  • Regularly review your privacy settings. Social media platforms all have privacy settings. These settings give you the power to choose who can see your profile, who can message you, who can tag you and how much information is shared from social media publicly. Each platform is different and privacy settings can change frequently. Consider privacy settings as a regular maintenance task that needs to be checked on at least once a year. Visit the specific social media sites for the most up to date information, linked below.

    Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | LinkedIn | Snapchat | Discord | Reddit | WhatsApp | WeChat
  • Do not post personally identifiable information. Don’t post information that can help identify your address, office, your license plate or other personally identifiable information. Some of this information can be less obvious - check the background of images for mail, your address, ID numbers, sticky notes with passwords, notebooks, etc. This also includes not posting proprietary information that can be found in documents, white boards and in the backgrounds of some research labs or offices.
  • Don’t post about your whereabouts until after you’ve left. Your location is vital information about you. Don’t post about trips until after you’ve returned.
  • Change your passwords often and set up two factor authentication. Take full advantage of the extra security measures of two factor authentication and change your passwords frequently.
  • Only follow accounts that you know are credible and are trustworthy. Be judicious about who you follow back on social media. Take the time to make sure it is a real account run by an actual person and not a bot. This also applies to content that you share - take the time to ensure it’s from a credible source and click beyond the headline before pressing share.
  • Build your support network and ground your own reputation. Connect with colleagues, peers, mentors, and leaders and contacts online. Be active with this group and support them. Chances are if you ask your support network for help, they will reciprocate.
  • Take the high ground and don’t feed the trolls. Trolls thrive on conflict and in general are not online to listen to reason. Don’t give them the satisfaction of engaging in debate. Take a break before engaging or replying and use this litmus test “would I be proud if this post/reply was published by [insert huge media company here]?” If the answer is no, don’t post it. You can always get a gut check from a friend. 
  • Use your voice. In some rare circumstances, it is appropriate to use your personal social media channels to share your side of the story. Before you consider this approach, take your time to evaluate the online conversation, your stance and what you want to say. Ask for several gut checks from peers and from your department leaders before posting. Avoid the temptation to rush into responding or . Sometimes this step has potential for massive backlash - so engage with extreme caution. More often than not, this step isn’t necessary as the issues blow over faster than most expect.
  • Block, mute, and report. All social media platforms have the ability to block users from accessing your social media content or being able to direct message you. If someone is leaving you unwanted messages, comments or tagging you on your own social media posts or pages, hit that block button! You do not owe anyone an explanation about why you’ve blocked or unfriended them(Note: University-run accounts need to go through a different and official process and involves different considerations before blocking or muting can occur)

    If blocking is too harsh, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have “mute” options that can silence notifications from an individual or cut out those conversation threads that you don’t want to see without blocking.

    Report users and profiles who are engaging in harassing behaviors, making threats or are impersonating you directly to the social media platform. Most platforms act quickly on these reports as it is against the terms and conditions of use and once verified that the offending actions are against harassment policies, user comments and accounts can be deleted. In extreme cases, users can be banned outright from using the platforms. These reports are also used for any police case filings or warrants. 

    Twitter reporting | Facebook reporting | Instagram reporting | TikTok reportingLinkedIn reporting | Discord reporting | SnapChat reporting | WeChat reportingWhatsApp reporting
  • Visit our page for more resources if you think you are experiencing online harassment.

Contact us

For questions, comments or to report abuse, send a message to socialmedia@ucdavis.edu.

*Social media includes, but is not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Wildfire, Flickr, Yelp and blogs.