Social Media Guidelines for
Faculty, Staff and Students
Social media may be used by Zucker School of Medicine faculty, staff and students, for personal or business-related purposes, subject to the guidelines and restrictions detailed below.
Social media is defined as internet-based applications that support and promote the exchange of user-developed content. Social media can take many different forms, including blogs (a web site containing the writer's or group of writers' own experiences, observations and/or opinions, and often having images and links to other websites), internet forums, social blogs, micro-blogs, broadcast text messages, wikis, podcasts, pictures, videos, ratings and social bookmarks. Some current examples include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
The guidelines apply to the use of social media, including, Zucker School of Medicine-hosted or approved social media sites, and all other social media sites while at school or at the hospital. They also apply to the use of social media when away from school when the user's Zucker School of Medicine affiliation is identified, known or presumed, and in which the views and opinions expressed are not intended to represent the official views of the organization. The guidelines and restrictions below are intended to ensure compliance with organization policy, legal and regulatory requirements, privacy rules, and confidentiality agreements. Professional (Northwell Health/Hofstra) email addresses should not be used in conjunction with unofficial or personal social media accounts and profiles.
Accounts or handles created on social media applications in Zucker School of Medicine's name (e.g., a Zucker School of Medicine Facebook page, the Twitter handle @ZuckerSOM) are ZSOM's official social media channels and are managed by the school's communications team.
Social Media Use Guidelines and Restrictions
Social Media Sites: These guidelines apply to faculty, staff and students who identify themselves with Zucker School of Medicine in social media venues such as (but not limited to): professional society blogs, Instagram, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook, for deliberate professional engagement or casual conversation.
- Protect Patients' Confidentiality: A user may not disclose any patient's information of any kind, including a patient's images (even if the patient is not identified by name), on any social media, unless the user received specific written permission, in advance, to do so from the Northwell Health Content Management team. You can request to contact them through our communications team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Without written permission from the Northwell Health Content Management Team and Zucker School of Medicine communications team. Information may not be disclosed even if the patient consents to such disclosure.
- Users are responsible for maintaining compliance with Hofstra University and Northwell Health behavioral standards, HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) and policies related to Conflict of Interest, Privacy, Security, Safety and Human Resources, and FERPA (Federal Education Records Protection Act). Content owners are also required to keep abreast of changes in policies or functionality of the social media platforms in use and maintain compliance with terms of service.
- Be Respectful: A user shall not post any material that is obscene, defamatory, profane, libelous, threatening, harassing, discriminatory, abusive, hateful or embarrassing to another person or entity.
- Protect Proprietary Information: A user must not, unless specific written permission is received from the communications team in advance, do any of the following:
- Disclose any confidential or proprietary information of or about the organization, including, but not limited to, clinical, and financial information;
- Represent that the user is communicating the views of Zucker School of Medicine; or
- Do anything that might reasonably create the impression that communication is being made on behalf of or acting as a representative of Zucker School of Medicine.
- Write in the First Person and Use a Disclaimer: A user must not represent that the user is communicating the views of Zucker School of Medicine, or do anything that might reasonably create the impression that the user is communicating on behalf of or acting as a representative of the organization.
- Where a user's affiliation to Zucker School of Medicine is apparent, the user must make clear that they are speaking for themselves and not on behalf of the organization. In those circumstances, the user shall include this disclaimer: "The views expressed here are my own personal views and opinions and do not reflect the views of Zucker School of Medicine. They may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes." Where character count is limited, please use: "Views are my own."
- Do not use your Hofstra or Northwell Health email address: A Hofstra or Northwell Health email address may not be used when creating personal accounts or expressing personal views on social media sites.
- Do not use organizational branding in handle name or profile photo, the Zucker School of Medicine name and logo are protected under trademark and may be used in no way that might mislead the average person to think that a personal account is an official representation of Zucker School of Medicine.
- Respect Copyright and Fair Use Laws: For the protection of the organization and its employees, it is critical that copyright and fair use laws are respected by ensuring that the appropriate permission is secured before the use or reproduction of any copyrighted text, photos, graphics, video or other material owned by others. Questions concerning the right to use an image or other material should be directed to the communications team by emailing email@example.com.
- Media Relations: A user must immediately (i.e., before responding) notify the communications team upon contact by a member of the media about activity on a social media site concerning the organization. Contact the communications team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Report Misrepresentations: The communications team should be contacted at email@example.com if a user becomes aware of a misrepresentation made about the organization by media, analysts or bloggers.
- Report service issues: If a community member posts complaints about our services, please do not engage with the post and immediately forward to our communications team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Personal Use: A user should not use Zucker School of Medicine resources to create or post content to social media sites unless doing so is part of the user's job function and has been specifically approved by the user's manager (Student Affairs, hospital leads, etc.) and communications team in advance.
- Comply with organization policy: A user is expected to adhere to the Hofstra University and Northwell Health Code of Ethical Conduct when using or participating in social media. All policies that apply to other organization communications apply to the use of social media. Those policies include, but are not limited to, policies regarding respecting employees, students and patients; protecting the confidentiality, privacy and security of patients/students and Hofstra/Northwell Health data; and the safeguarding and proper use of Hofstra/Northwell Health assets.
PLEASE NOTE: Private Facebook groups, while not explicitly against school policy, are allowed but not encouraged. Private Facebook groups should only be utilized for purposes such as connecting with incoming students or alumni, and to share general resources about the school. Please avoid using the logo and branding for these groups, and please ensure that there is a disclaimer in the description stating that the group is not an official group or page managed by the school and that the views stated in the group do not reflect the Zucker School of Medicine. Please note that your actions in any private Facebook group could lead to disciplinary actions if they are considered inappropriate (i.e., academic dishonesty, discrimination, harassment, etc.), and members of our community are expected to report such behavior, through the professionalism or mistreatment processes or to leadership immediately.
Violations of organizational policies and/or guidelines may result in disciplinary action.
Note to Employees on your National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) Rights:
The Zucker School of Medicine respects an employee's right to communicate on his or her own (or other employees' behalf) regarding terms and conditions of employment. Nothing contained in this policy is intended to interfere with any rights conferred by the NLRA or other laws or regulations, nor will Zucker School of Medicine construe this policy in a way that limits such rights.
Last Updated: September 2021