Approved by: The President
History: Issued              -- June 1, 2017
Revised            -- April 30, 2024
Last Reviewed -- April 30, 2024
Related Policies:

Social Media Policy for Faculty and StaffCode of Conduct for Staff and Faculty; Copyright Policy; Information Security and Assurance Policy; Marketing/Advertising Policy; Permission to Photograph Policy; Press Releases Policy; Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Title IX Compliance Policy; Political Activities Policy; Sexual Offenses Policy (Student); Sexual Offenses Policy (Employees); Speaking to the News Media Policy; Student Code of Conduct; Technology Use Policy; Trademark Policy

Additional References:

The Catholic University of America Style and Visual Identity GuideSocial Media Council Guidelines and Resource Book

Responsible Official:

Contact Person:

Vice President for University Communications tel. (202) 319-5600

Vice President for University Communications tel. (202) 319-5600


I. Policy Statement

This policy is applicable only to University Social Media accounts. Personal social media accounts are governed by the Social Media Policy for Faculty and Staff.

Social Media plays a vital role in a University community. At the same time, the University seeks to speak with one voice on official matters and to protect and accurately communicate the University's mission and reputation. To achieve these goals, this policy sets forth requirements and guidelines regarding use of Social Media sites that purport to represent the University or its schools, departments, or units. The Division of University Communications shall have the final say on all official University Social Media accounts. 

II. Definitions


A. Social Media are web-based platforms and other online mechanisms or electronic platforms used for sharing or disseminating information, for personal or professional networking, or for other forms of social interaction. Examples of Social Media include, but are not limited to: blogs and other web-based journals; sites such as Facebook, X, Instagram, and LinkedIn; and video and photo sharing services (such as YouTube, Flickr or Instagram).

B. University-Sponsored Social Media are accounts owned and managed by the University that serve an official purpose of communicating University-approved messages.

C. News Media means entities or mechanisms for delivering news to the general public or to a targeted audience. News Media include but are not limited to: newspapers; magazines or journals; television or radio stations or networks; and online media, including Social Media.

III. Registration and Oversight of University Social Media Accounts

University-Sponsored Social Media accounts must be created and registered in coordination with the Division of University Communications, who shall have the final say on all University-Sponsored Social Media accounts.

An account administrator, preferably a member of the professional staff, must be designated by the University unit responsible for each University-Sponsored Social Media account, and the name of that administrator must be provided to the Division of University Communications. The responsibilities of account administrators are set forth in the University's Social Media Council Guidelines and Resource Book. You can register your social media accounts here.

All aspects of account and site management, including responsibility for monitoring the site and its content, reside with the unit responsible for the account and site. Account administrators are responsible for ensuring that the site is compliant with University policies and are responsible for removing from the site any comments or other material deemed inflammatory, vulgar, inconsistent with the University’s mission, or otherwise inappropriate. In addition, University Communications has the authority to remove such comments or other material.

The Division of University Communications retains the authority to deactivate any University-Sponsored Social Media account that violates this policy. 

IV. Requirements for University Social Media Accounts

Staff, faculty, and students who administer or post to University-Sponsored Social Media accounts are subject to the same University policies and standards of conduct that apply to in-person activities and interactions on behalf of the University and to the following:

A. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment

Comments or information posted may not be discriminatory or harassing per the University's Non-Discrimination, Anti-Harassment, and Title IX Compliance Policy and Sexual Offenses policies (linked above), and may not be abusive, threatening or defamatory.

B. Confidentiality, Privacy and Proprietary Information

Social Media sites are public. Confidential or proprietary information pertaining to the University or to University staff, faculty, students, alumni or affiliates may not be posted on Social Media. All information created or posted on or through University computers systems is subject to University policies, and is subject to the requirements of the University's Information Security and Assurance Policy.

C. University Marks

Staff, faculty and students may only use the University's approved names, seal, logos and other copyrighted or trademarked material in Social Media to identify themselves on matters of official University business. All such use also must follow The Catholic University of America Style and Visual Identity Guide.

D. Copyright

All members of the University community must respect the copyrights held by owners of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual property. Review the University's Copyright Guidelines, as set forth in the Copyright Policy, before posting any copyrighted material through Social Media.

E. Announcing University News and Contacts with the News Media

Per the University's Press Releases Policy, University communications with the News Media must be managed by the Division of University Communications. If sharing University news, share only news and events that are a matter of public record, and link directly to the University news source maintained by the Division of University Communications.

Social Media posts may generate interest from print, television or online News Media sources. If contacted by any media source, contact the Division of University Communications before responding per the Speaking to the News Media Policy.

F. Political Activities

University Social Media accounts and postings must abide by the University's Political Activities Policy.

G. Photographs and Videos

If photographs or videos are to be used in a Social Media postings, follow the University's Permission to Photograph Policy regarding necessary consent.

H. Additional Requirements

Individual University schools or units may have additional social media policies or requirements, so long as they are consistent with this policy. University Communications has final oversight over all University-sponsored social media accounts affiliated with official functions of the University.

V. Postings of Individual Views

Staff and faculty are encouraged to speak in their areas of expertise per the Speaking to the News Media Policy. Staff and faculty who intend to express individual or collective views  with their University affiliation listed should use their own personal accounts and abide by the University’s Social Media Policy for Faculty and Staff.

VI. Individual Responsibility

Each user of University-Sponsored Social Media accounts is responsible for his or her actions online. Individuals have been held liable for commentary deemed to be proprietary, copyrighted, defamatory, libelous, or obscene. Catholic University will not be liable for and will not indemnify an employee for any liability that results from the employee’s use of University-Sponsored Social Media accounts that violates this policy.

VII. Style and Content Guidelines

For assistance in creating and posting content most effectively to Social Media sites, review the University's Social Media Council Guidelines and Resource Book and contact the Division of University Communications ( These resources will help schools, departments and units develop a communication strategy, brand the account, and develop targeted and effective postings.