Social Networking Sites and Personal Internet Presence

Guidance for Staff

group using a computer

The use of social networking sites (e.g. Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, Bebo, Twitter), whilst providing a positive way for people to interact online, has also increased the opportunity for media communications to have an impact on the College and you.  Whilst the College does not centrally moderate your use of such technology, it does require you to adhere to all applicable College policies and guidance.

The purpose of this guidance is to protect the College's and your reputation, and to make you aware of relevant College policies and guidance.  It is also intended to ensure that you understand the implications of using material which could be considered abusive or defamatory . 

Personal Use of Social Networking Sites

If your personal internet presence does not make any reference to Imperial College London or its staff or students, and the College cannot be identified, the content is unlikely to be of concern to the College.  If your College employment, its staff or students are referred to, then the information posted would need to adhere to the the following guidelines and policies:

  • If you make reference to your employment at the College on a social networking site, you should use a disclaimer that protects the College, e.g. 'These are my personal views and not those of Imperial College London'
  • You should not disclose confidential information relating to your College employment
  • Sites should not be used to verbally abuse staff or students.  Privacy and feelings of others should be respected at all times.  You should obtain the permission of individuals before posting contact details or pictures.  Care should be taken to avoid using language which could be deemed as offensive to others.
  • If information on a site raises a cause for concern with regard to conflict of interest, you should raise the issue with your manager
  • Sites must not be used for accessing or sharing illegal content
  • Occasional personal use of the desk top computer, e-mail and web access is permitted provided such use does not disrupt the conduct of College business or other Users. When using College IT facilities you must comply with the Information System's Security Policy - Supporting Policy 2: Conditions of Use of IT Facilities
  • When using collaborative internet environments (e.g. social network sites, wikis, blogs) you should ensure that you do so inline with the Information System's Security Policy: Code of Practice 16 

Related IT Policies and Guidance

Full information on the College's acceptable use of IT is available via the links below:

HR Policies

Your attention is drawn to the following extracts contained within three related HR policies.  The complete policies may also be viewed:

  • Harassment, Bullying and Victimisation Policy‌  /  Grievance Policy 
      • 2.3 / Appendix A - Bullying:  The exercise of power over another person through persistent, negative  acts or behaviour that undermines an individual, personally and/or professionally.  Bullying can be threatening, insulting, abusive, disparaging or intimidating behaviour placing inappropriate pressure on the recipient which can affect self-confidence and self-esteem or has the effect of isolating or excluding them.  Bullying can take the form of persistent shouting, sarcasm or derogatory remarks; it can be constant criticism, without constructive support, to assist a member of staff to address performance concerns; it may also include cyber bullying, i.e. using the internet and related technologies to harm another person in a deliberate, repeated and hostile manner
  • Disciplinary and Poor Performance Policy
    • 5.1.6 - Breach of the College’s Information Systems Security Policy on the use of collaborative internet environments or the conditions of use of IT facilities, may count as a misconduct issues.
    • 6.2 - Where the grievance is an allegation of harassment or bullying (including cyber bullying) then consideration will be given to suspending the process to review the allegation under the grievance procedure
    • 8.8 - Gross misconduct - the following offences are considered serious enough that they may warrant dismissal without prior formal warnings.... bullying (including cyber bullying) and/or harassment