Standards and Guidelines for Verified Illinois Social Media Accounts

Public Affairs has developed a series of basic standards and guidelines that must be met to qualify as a verified social media account representing an administrative or academic unit of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Verified status:

  • Makes an account eligible for listing on the campus Social Media Directory maintained by Public Affairs;
  • Makes content on that account eligible to be shared and disseminated through the official university social media platforms maintained by Public Affairs;
  • Formalizes and adds consistency to campus-wide social media communications;
  • Provides clarification and guidance for employees managing these accounts; and
  • Provides stakeholders and audience members with a level of confidence and trust in the transparency and accuracy of the information posted to these accounts.

These standards for verification are for use with long-term institutional accounts (such as departments, colleges or administrative offices). They are not intended for application to personal accounts, nor for accounts operated by individuals in support of their scholarly or instructional activities, including research projects, grants, etc.

Public Affairs will review applications for verification. Accounts meeting these basic standards will be assigned verified status for a period of one year. Public Affairs will contact the manager of record for each account annually to confirm the accounts continue to meet verification standards.

All users who have access to post on behalf of a social media account representing a unit within the university’s organizational administrative structure will be asked to confirm they have read these policies and are aware of their responsibilities in the management of this university resource.

Required Basic Standards for Verification

Any account that presents itself as representing an official University unit is a direct reflection on the University and is considered a university resource.

University policies and standards, including state ethics rules and guidelines for the use of state and university resources, apply to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign social media accounts 

As a University account, the content should strategically reflect and advance the goals and mission of the University unit, as defined by the unit. Any content that does not represent positions of the unit should be attributed to the author. 

Therefore, to have a verified social media account, units will be asked to:

1. Identify the mission and goals of the unit’s social media accounts

This should be a brief bulleted list or paragraph of the unit’s goals for the accounts.

An example:
Our accounts mirror the goals of our college:

  • Recruit students
  • Raise money
  • Build community the college
  • Empower & support our units
  • Share the college’s excellent reputation

We have two additional goals:

  • Increase engagement on our social media platforms
  • Increase followers on all our channels

2. Follow social media security and account access best practices

All University accounts should make every effort to comply with the social media security and account access best practices.

3. Use a comment policy

When possible, use the University Social Media Comment Policy regarding the type of comments permitted on the unit’s social media accounts. For example, Public Affairs recommends putting the comment policy as a Note on the unit’s Facebook page. As a reminder, policies and practices on deleting, hiding or otherwise censoring outside comments or posts on University social media accounts will be a matter of public record and subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Public Affairs’ best practice calls for deleting or hiding comments only if they violate the stated policy.

As a Verified Illinois account, units commit to adhering to the University Social Media Commenting Policy.

Comments, links, photos and videos are welcome on all University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign social media platforms. All posts or comments should be relevant to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign community.

Comments or posts made by outside users to University accounts can be removed for any of the following reasons, at any time, if they: 

  • use obscene, threatening or harassing language; 
  • disclose information that is confidential by law or regulation; 
  • promote or advocate illegal activity; 
  • violate copyrights or trademarks; 
  • are commercial advertising, unsolicited self-promotion, SPAM, or solicitations; or 
  • endorse or oppose anyone campaigning for election to a political office. 

User comments or user posts do not represent the opinions of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

The University and units adopting this policy reserve the right to respond to comments that do not violate this policy.

All users, including page administrators, are subject to the terms of service of each social media site and this policy.

4. List every person who has access to the account

Each user who has access should follow this set of policies that govern the management of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign social media accounts. We are developing this list to ensure we have contact information for at least one full-time University employee for each account. We also will provide this information to campus communicators to ensure they are able to contact people on each account.

5. Identify the Unit Executive Officer for the unit’s social media accounts

List the name and title of the unit’s executive officer (UEO). The UEO is typically a department head, chair, director or dean. The UEO is the ultimate authority for the unit’s social media accounts. Public Affairs will provide the UEO and director/dean (if they are different people) a list of the people who are official posters for the unit’s accounts and a copy of these guidelines annually.

6. Follow the campus branding guidelines

  1. Use profile pictures consistent with the interim social media brand standards. Profile pictures should include the Block I. Do not use profile pictures with the column I or a logo other than the Block I. Units may use the template provided, or reach out to Public Affairs to have a profile image created.
  2. Mention in the account bio that the unit account is part of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
    Examples of acceptable account bios
    1. Official account for Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois.
    2. The world needs pioneers. With 90+ doctoral, 155+ master’s, 25+ fully online programs, our 16,000+ @Illinois_Alma graduate students are changing the world.

Non-compliance

Units are not mandated to follow these verification standards. However, units that elect to not follow them:

  • Will not have their social media accounts listed in the campus Social Media Directory
  • Will not be permitted to use the official University logo or wordmark on the unit account’s social profile picture, cover photos, etc.
  • Will not have their social media content shared by the university’s official social media platforms maintained by Public Affairs.

If you would like to apply to be a verified Illinois social media account, please have one person from your unit fill out this form.