Public authorities on social media
As a public authority, we are obliged to monitor our social media channels, clarify the sender, and address incoming questions and comments without unnecessary delay.
- Public authority responsibility also applies on social media
- Filing and destruction
- Closing an account
You are welcome to contact your local communications officer to discuss whether and, if so, how you could use social media in your activities.
As a public authority, we are not to set up a channel without properly managing it. We are also responsible for the material we publish in the channel and, in some cases, the material others publish as well. It is therefore important that you do not publish personal data or copyrighted material on social media. Copyrighted material may not be used without permission. Always be sure to indicate the source of the material, unless it is your own or the University’s content.
Because we are a public authority, we are also required to respond to, or otherwise address, incoming questions from individuals as soon as possible and without unnecessary delay. If a question is very extensive and providing an answer thus takes time, you should inform the person who asked it. Read more about this on the following page:
General guidelines from the E-delegation
The E-delegation, on behalf of the Government, has drawn up guidelines regarding public authorities’ use of social media. The recommendations on the present pages are largely based on these guidelines.
Content considered official documents
The material that we and others publish in Lund University’s social media channels always becomes an official document, i.e. public and accessible to all.
Public access and confidentiality
Some material may be considered confidential and can thus not be published or stored on social media.
When can you give advice and information?
It is important not to give advice and information on matters relating to individuals. In such cases, you should refer to the division or person at the University who can assist the person in question, and transfer the case to a more appropriate channel (e.g. email or telephone). When it is not a personal matter, it is obviously good to provide advice and information directly in the comments box, so that more people have access to it.
State that the information comes from Lund University
As a public authority, it is important that we clearly state who is responsible for the channel. Users are to know that the information comes from Lund University and that they are communicating with a representative of the organisation. It must also be clear to the user what the purpose of the channel is and what “rules” apply, i.e. what they can write in the channel and what happens if they post illegal or inappropriate material, for example. Examples of what to write in your account description can be found on the following page:
The line between private and public
Drawing the line between private and public can be difficult. As an employer, Lund University has no right or desire to get involved in what you do in your spare time. Freedom of expression applies to all people regardless. However, an account that communicates in Lund University’s name should not comment on, like or share posts that have no connection to research and education or are of no relevance to the University’s activities..
When Lund University communicates with the outside world (with private individuals, companies, organisations, other public authorities, etc.), the documentation (letters, emails, official notes from conversations, posts and comments on social media, etc.) usually become official. This places special requirements with regard to our responsibility for this documentation and may require filing.
Because it is technically difficult to file all material shared on social media – as it is stored by external agents – we recommend that you exercise general caution with regard to the type of information you post. Bear in mind that:
- social media are primarily to be used for information of minor and temporary importance, in accordance with Swedish legislation, and therefore does not require the public authority to store it long term
- if you publish more important and long-term relevant information on social media, make sure that it is also stored in a safe way within the public authority, on the University website, on paper, in a case management system or similar. This way, you don’t have to think about being able to preserve the “copy” contained in the social media channel.
In some cases, you need to create social media accounts that are only to be active for a limited time. There could be other reasons why an account needs to be closed, for example, if a project or activity has terminated or if the conditions for the channel change. As a public authority, we are responsible for all of our accounts, regardless of whether or not they are active.
Important things to consider when you close an account
- Inform the visitor that the account is no longer active. This information should be easy to find for both recurring and new visitors.
- Refer them to alternative channels, such as a website, another social media channel, or email.
- If no one is able regularly to check incoming comments or post, disable this function if possible (not all channels have this option).
- Only the administrator of the page/account is authorised to delete it. Information on how to proceed can usually be found on the help pages of the channel.
anna_v [dot] johnsson [at] kommunikation [dot] lu [dot] se
+46 46 222 70 21