Social Media Guidelines

A row of people looking at their cellphones with graphics above their phones indicating likes, shares, and questions.

Social media is a powerful tool for communication, and Columbia University values the opportunity to connect with its worldwide community. 

These guidelines are provided for social media users, including Columbia students, faculty, staff, and alumni, or the general public, who interact with Columbia-connected social media accounts.

Units across the University have the ability to create and maintain Columbia-affiliated social media accounts. Internal users should contact the Office of Public Affairs social media team for assistance. 

Individual units are responsible for maintaining their accounts and ensuring that their content is in compliance with University policy, Office of Public Affairs social media guidelines, current external communications standards, and any applicable laws. Questions can be directed to [email protected].

In order to keep our social media accounts a space for discourse and information sharing, we’ve created the following reminders:

Social media is a public forum. Remember that anything you post may be seen by thousands of people worldwide, and that comments you read are attributable only to the individual who posted them. Comments, replies, and other responses do not represent the viewpoint of Columbia University or any of its affiliates. 

Be respectful. Demonstrate respect for other people and the Columbia community by keeping your posts civil. Please refer to our comment moderation policy below.

Private information should not be posted. Do not publish or share personal information on social media, even in private messages. 

Stay on topic. Comments should be related to the post where they appear, and our comment sections may not be used to promote commercial activities.

Abide by University rules. Columbia students, faculty, and staff should consult the Acceptable Usage of University Resources policy, as well as the University’s EOAA nondiscrimination statement and HIPAA policy. Remember that Columbia’s rules about confidentiality, conduct, partisan campaign behavior, discriminatory language, and other concerns may apply to social media behavior as well. 

Reports, including of Discrimination or Harassment. Columbia University is committed to fostering a safe community and workplace where everyone can learn, live, work and express ourselves. Comments, direct messages, and other forms of social media outreach directed at Columbia University-affiliated accounts are not mechanisms for reporting concerns of discrimination or harassment. Columbia encourages all community members to raise concerns, including of discrimination and harassment through the multiple reporting options described here.

Columbia University’s social media accounts are managed by the Office of Public Affairs. We ask that visitors to our platforms remain civil and respectful to each other and to the account administrators.

We encourage comments and engagement with our social media posts. As a University, we embrace the principle of free speech. As such, our comment sections are kept open and unmoderated to the greatest extent possible.

However, that does not mean that all types of responses are welcome on our posts. While our reply sections can be a space for robust debate and even disagreement, we will take action to ensure that they are not used to spread hate, target groups or individuals, propagate falsehoods, reveal private information, or contribute to an unsafe environment. Discriminatory or offensive language is not permitted. Comments should be on topic and may not be used to promote commercial activities. 

The following content is prohibited:

  • Abusive or threatening language 
  • Obscene or vulgar language
  • References to distressing events or subjects, particularly when they’re off-topic
  • Hateful or discriminatory language
  • False or defamatory statements
  • Violations of any intellectual property laws and rights
  • Commercial posts or spam
  • Anything else we deem to be offensive, off-topic, harmful, or otherwise in violation of University policies or guidelines

We reserve the right to remove individual comments and restrict or close replies at our discretion. Users who violate the University’s comment moderation standards may be blocked and prevented from engaging further.

Comments and replies reflect the views of the individual who posted them, and should not be interpreted as the views or policies of Columbia University. 

If you encounter discrimination or harassment on Columbia’s social media affiliated pages please screenshot the message or comment and report it through the mechanisms described here