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These guidelines are intended for all staff, faculty, students, and other official personnel who manage or contribute to official UMass Amherst social media channels on behalf of the university. These guidelines do not apply to the personal use of social media by our staff, faculty, and students. 

Official UMass Amherst social media channels are defined as those that represent official UMass groups, departments, offices, etc., and have registered their social media channels with the Director of Social Media.  

These guidelines apply to social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, TikTok, Threads, and Discord, and any other relevant social media channels identified by the university. 

This is intended to be a living document that reflects UMass Amherst’s current needs and may be adjusted to future changes in social media. 

To view a comprehensive set of university guidelines, please visit the Campus Policy Library website, a central repository that the UMass Amherst community can reference in their planning and daily work. 


UMass Amherst is fully committed to providing full and equal access to information and services for all current and potential members of our community. UMass Amherst social media should ensure content posted or produced is accessible to people with disabilities and in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Most major social media channels provide access solutions for individuals with disabilities.  

Authorized Communicators 

Before creating an official social media account at UMass Amherst, you should contact the Director of Social Media in University Relations to discuss best practices and university social media guidelines. You should only create a social media account in the name of a recognized UMass Amherst entity if you are authorized to represent that entity. 

Best Practices and Strategy 

University Relations has created guides for best practices and social strategy for the most popular social media channels. If you have any questions, contact the Director of Social Media in University Relations.

Brand Guidelines 

Social media communications should adhere to the university’s Brand Guidelines.  

The institutional UMass Amherst wordmark as it appears on top-level channels (UMass Amherst social media accounts) should not be used by other university offices, organizations, or initiatives. No university logos may be altered or combined with any other mark or element. Accounts may instead use their group’s wordmark or a photograph or image with the UMass Amherst wordmark in it. For specific guidance, please contact MarCom.  

Confidential Information 

You are responsible for protecting confidential information. Do not publish confidential or proprietary information about UMass Amherst, or about university employees, students, affiliates, or alumni that would violate such persons’ rights to privacy under applicable federal and state laws and regulations, such as HIPAA and FERPA, as well as applicable university privacy and confidentiality guidelines

Copyright and Fair Use  

Social media should adhere to the university’s guidelines related to copyright and fair use when posting intellectual property, including photos and videos. Social media creators should assume all materials are copyright-protected unless they have created the materials themselves or received the creator’s explicit permission to distribute them.   

Emergency Announcements and Crisis Communications  

In emergencies and crisis situations, social media channels across campus should share only official information provided by the top-level, institutional UMass Amherst accounts. Do not post information that isn’t approved by the university, as this may lead to confusion and the spread of misinformation. 

If an emergency or crisis emerges on your social media accounts, please notify the Social Media Team in University Relations as soon as possible so you can be provided guidance. 

Inactive Accounts  

Any social media account that has been inactive for more than a semester may be subject to removal from the university’s Social Media Directory.  

Managing Negativity and Trolls : Blocking and Banning Users, Deleting Comments, and More  

Negative feedback is an inherent part of modern communication channels. Social media creates a two-way dialogue, which can provide opportunities to build trust, develop positive engagement, and highlight user-generated content. As a public university, we are responsible for respecting healthy public debate, even around topics that may be difficult or troubling. It is important to allow a free marketplace of ideas and allow these conversations to happen.    

In most circumstances, do not:    

  • Ban users from your page or account  

  • Disable comments   

  • Otherwise prohibit or shut down active discussions on your accounts 

However, consistent trolling; off-topic, threatening, or harassing comments; and advocacy of crime violate our social media guidelines, and the university has the right to remove such content from public view.  

Comments or posts may be hidden or removed if they:    

  • Reveal personal information about someone, including students, staff, or faculty members 
  • Are intentionally off-topic or otherwise unrelated 

  • Threaten, harass, or defame an individual 

  • Advocate a crime 

  • Include copyrighted or trademarked material 

  • Give the appearance of legal, medical, or financial advice 

  • Are considered spam, including advertisement or promotion of a commercial product, service, or individual 

  • Are duplicative comments by the same user or multiple users—these are viewed as spam. The first comment from the individual should be approved, however. In other words, if a user comments the same thing five times, you should approve the first comment and you may hide or remove the other four.   

If, after careful consideration and consultation with your supervisor, you decide to ban or block an individual, you must document it with a screenshot, time of comment, channel where the comment or post was made, handle and name of the user, and the offense. Retain this information for your records for at least three years. 

If you need further guidance on an issue, consult with the Director of Social Media in University Relations.

If you believe a post demonstrates a credible threat, immediately notify UMass Police via its nonemergency line at (413) 545-2121, as well as the Social Media Team in University Relations. 

Please note that UMass Amherst as a public university is subject to public records requests under Massachusetts state law. You should preserve comments, even if deleted from public view, as part of your management practices. 


According to the university’s General Counsel, photo/video professionals must obtain signed consent forms to take photos, audio, or video in private settings, such as classrooms and other areas not generally open to the public. If the event is a gathering of many people, the photographer or videographer can post “Please be aware, you will be entering an area where photography, video, and audio recording may occur” signs at entrances in lieu of consent forms. Consent forms are not required for images captured outdoors or in other public spaces. Please ask permission whenever possible. However, use of photos of people for commercial purposes implies a right of publicity and requires permission. University Relations can provide the appropriate forms. 


All UMass Amherst social media accounts should be accessible to three authorized people within your department or group. This helps to prevent loss of account access. Follow the terms of use for each social media platform. Please use two-factor authentication to protect your account when possible. 

Terms of Service  

Accounts should comply with the terms of service set forth by the social media channels on which they are active. These terms of service are easily available for review on each channel.  

Unofficial Accounts  

Whether remnants of old accounts or just created by an avid fan, unofficial accounts may sometimes crop up. Unfortunately, unless you know the original creator of the account, shutting these down can be tricky and, at times, impossible. However, if you discover an unofficial account that has been created and is falsely representing your area, please contact the Director of Social Media in University Relations.