Policy for Official Social Media Accounts

Title: Policy for Official Social Media Accounts
Approved by: Board of Trustees, University President
Date approved: October 2014
Effective date: January 2015
Responsible Official: Vice President, University Marketing and Communications
Responsible University Office: University Marketing and Communications
Related legislation and University policies: N/A
Review Period: 5 Years
Date of Last Review: February 2024
Relates to: Faculty, Staff, Students

Official social media accounts are those that University Marketing and Communications authorizes to represent Case Western Reserve through social media.

Anyone managing or contributing to an official social media account must follow this policy concerning that account. This includes anyone managing or contributing to a social media channel on behalf of a school, department, office or other official entity at the university. Personal opinions should not be expressed through official social media accounts. 

The Policy for Official Social Media Accounts only applies to posts on official accounts. It does not apply to interactions individuals may have on their personal social media accounts—as long as such communications do not indicate that the individual is speaking on behalf of the university. And, of course, best practices always apply, no matter where posts appear.

This policy does not apply to student organizations. Organizations should follow the guidance of their governing bodies and, when necessary, the direction of the Division of Student Affairs. Those student organizations that use the university’s logo must not manipulate it in any way. In addition, the university reserves the right to monitor and restrict how its logo and name are used.

This policy applies to all social media platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, X (formerly known as Twitter), Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok, Reddit, Tumblr, Pinterest, and blogs. It is meant to be a living document that will transform as technologies change.

Account Registration

Existing accounts must register with UMC, and social media account managers must request and receive approval on any new accounts prior to creation. This policy applies to every social media platform.

The process of registration begins with a request to University Marketing and Communications (UMC) to become an authorized social media representative. University Marketing and Communications reserves the right to determine what accounts are deemed “official” and, as such, can use the university’s or affiliated school’s name, logo and otherwise speak on behalf of the university/school.
To register, you must complete a form that includes:

  • the name of the account (proposed or existing),
  • URL (if existing),
  • relevant login information (if existing),
  • contact information for the account administrator and a backup administrator,
  • a brief overview of your goals, audience, strategy and measurements for success, and
  • an exit plan—meaning, if you need to remove your account, how will you do so?

Users also will be required to update (or maintain) the account administrator contact information every six months, to ensure continuity. In addition, you must agree to abide by the emergency communication guidelines.

Emergency Communications

In the event of an emergency, Case Western Reserve University must communicate a unified message across all channels. Social media pages are among the first places community members go for details on an emergency, what is being done, and what they should do to stay safe. They often will look for Case Western Reserve-related pages on Facebook and X, searching terms such as “Case Western Reserve University,” “Case,” “CWRU,” etc.

Therefore, in the event of an emergency, those who open or run a social media account that bears any named relationship to the university (i.e., contains the name “Case Western Reserve University,” “Case,” “CWRU” or the like) must agree to:

  • immediately update the page with approved messaging only from Case Western Reserve’s official Facebook and X accounts (if updates are possible),
  • not spread rumors or hearsay, and
  • share critical information seen on social media with representatives from University Marketing and Communications.

Social media outlets, including Facebook and X, require account administrators to be “authorized representatives” for the pages they maintain. Only administrators who have agreed to this protocol will be “authorized representatives” for Case Western Reserve University pages. Failure to comply with this policy may result in closure of the social media page or account.

Facebook Business Manager

Facebook accounts using the university name or logo to represent Case Western Reserve in any official capacity must list the official Case Western Reserve University  Facebook Business Manager as owner of the page and add a representative from University Marketing and Communications as an account administrator on their Facebook pages. Users will be delegated varying levels of access to their page through Facebook Business Manager (business.facebook.com) as mutually decided upon between University Marketing and Communications and users on the respective page.

Though users still will be responsible for following the emergency communications guidelines—and for posting and monitoring all of the content on their pages—this will help ensure continuity on pages in the event account managers leave the university. 

UMC will not “control” pages or post updates; this is simply another outlet to ensure that posts may be removed from pages if they don't abide by university voice, tone, style and acceptable posting guidelines. Additionally, if offensive comments from users are posted on a page, this ensures a supplemental option for their removal. It also provides continuity if there is turnover within the department.

Contact socialmedia@case.edu for more information.

Relevant University Policies and Procedures

Social media usage is governed by the same policies that govern all other electronic communications. Read the following policies before using any social media.

Advertising on behalf of external vendors is prohibited on Case Western Reserve University websites and social media presences, with the exception of Case Western Reserve University Athletics, through its media rights provider.

All social media sites have policies and terms of service that should be reviewed and agreed to before use.


Do not post confidential or proprietary information about Case Western Reserve University, its administrators, students, employees or alumni. Follow all university policies, federal requirements—such as HIPAA and FERPA—and NCAA regulations.


Do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals without their permission. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn't present the information in a public forum, don’t post it online. Follow all university policies and guidelines on the appropriate handling of student, employee and patient information.


Individuals are responsible for what they post, whether on personal or university-affiliated accounts. As such, they can be held liable for posts deemed to be copyright infringement, defamatory, proprietary, libelous or obscene. Verify all information as fact before posting, and cite and link to sources if appropriate.


Case Western Reserve is committed to ensuring that digital materials are available and accessible to all members of the campus community, including individuals with disabilities. Social media administrators should take steps to reduce barriers to access for individuals with disabilities by, for example, enabling screen-reader compatibility, captioning videos and adding descriptive tags on images. Most major social media platforms provide access solutions for individuals with disabilities, but all administrators must do their part to alleviate any barriers. Digital accessibility resources are available on the university’s accessibility website.


When using photographs or graphics, repurposing content or sharing information, be mindful of copyright and fair use laws. Images cannot be “taken” off the Internet without explicit permission from the owner. Individuals must secure permission when including copyrighted or trademarked material and include a permission statement or disclaimer, as required by the owner. For more information, visit the U.S. Copyright Office website at copyright.gov.


The university retains a trademark on its name (“Case Western Reserve University”) as well as other iterations, including “Case,” “Case Western,” “Case Western Reserve” and “CWRU,” and the phrase “think beyond the possible.” Use of these terms in account names, bios, or X or Instagram handles could be a trademark violation if used to misrepresent the university.

Once an account is designated by UMC as “official,” it is considered an authorized representative of the university; as such, administrators can use the university’s name in materials, as long as use is consistent with this policy.

The university’s logos also are trademarked and can be used only by authorized social media accounts. UMC recommends using the CWRU sunburst icon for all social media accounts. Visit CWRU’s digital asset-management system to request it.

Political Statements

According to the IRS, “Section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.“

Accordingly, statements in favor of or opposition to the candidacy of an individual for any elective office should not be made on official university accounts. For more information, read the university’s political campaign activity reference guide

Photography Usage

Per section 2741 of the Ohio Revised Code, higher education institutions are permitted to use an individual’s photo without explicit permission if both of the following apply:

  • The individual is or was a student at, or a member of the faculty or staff of, the institution of higher education.
  • The use of the individual's persona is for educational purposes or for the promotion of the institution of higher education and its educational or institutional objectives.

University accounts must regularly monitor direct messages and departmental emails in the event an individual wants their photo removed from the page.


When it comes to social media accounts, the level of passphrase security varies; some accounts are tied to personal logins, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, while others allow a separate email and passphrase, such as X and Instagram.

University Marketing and Communications requires that accounts calling for a traditional email and passphrase login (X, Instagram) use a delegated email address, such as socialmedia@case.edu, to ensure access in the event of turnover, forgotten password, etc. Be sure to provide access to the delegated email address to multiple trusted people in your department or unit.

All passphrases for social media accounts—even if connected to a personal account—should be updated every 180 days (once per semester), per the university’s passphrase policy. In addition, passphrases should meet the same complexity standards as outlined by University Technology:

  1. May not reuse current or previous 4 passphrases
  2. Minimum acceptable character length of 12
  3. Maximum acceptable character length of 32
  4. Minimum complexity is required to ensure passphrases will be strong, as indicated by a “green” score on the passphrase meter display during the creation of a passphrase

Passphrases should be changed immediately when an individual with access to your account leaves the department/organization/unit. All passphrases should be stored securely in a passphrase management tool, with access granted to or removed from individuals as necessary.

Changing passphrases regularly helps protect from hacking, identity theft or a number of other security risks. It also helps ensure that unauthorized users cannot gain access to accounts, and mitigate overall risk.

If users have any questions about passphrase recommendations, email socialmedia@case.edu or visit the University Technology CWRU Network ID Passphrase webpage.

Inactive Accounts

Social media accounts must be regularly maintained and updated. University Marketing and Communications recommends Facebook pages be updated at least three times per week, and X no less than once per business day. An abundance of inactive accounts reflects poorly on the communications strategy of the entire university. Therefore, accounts that have been inactive for more than two months may be subject to deactivation or deletion.

Representatives from University Marketing and Communications will periodically monitor accounts for activity and contact the appropriate administrator to discuss inactivity.

Please note: Accounts won’t be automatically removed; University Marketing and Communications first will contact the administrator (and back-up administrator), followed by the leader of the department, unit or organization, to discuss options before deactivation.

Deleting Accounts

If you want, or are asked, to remove a social media account, please take the following steps to ensure no data is lost in the process:

On Facebook

  1. Go to your page
  2. Select "Settings" in the left-hand column
  3. Select "Download your information"
  4. In the date range drop-down menu, select “All time”
  5. Select "Request a download" at the bottom of the webpage

Following these steps provides a record of posts you’ve shared, lists of fans and general Facebook activity.

On Instagram

  1. Go to your account
  2. Under the settings gear icon, select “Accounts Center”
  3. In the left-hand column under “Your information and permissions,” select “Download your information”
  4. Select “Request a download”
  5. Select which official CWRU account from which you would like to download data
  6. Select “Complete copy” on the next prompt
  7. Select “Submit request” on the final prompt

Following these steps provides a comprehensive record of your Instagram account activity.

On X

  1. Go to “Settings and privacy”
  2. Under “Your account,” select “Download an archive of your data”
  3. Follow the prompted steps (X may ask you to confirm your password)
  4. Select “Request archive”
  5. This provides a record of your complete X activity for future reference.