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Personal Use of Social Media

Cornell does not seek to limit personal use of social media by faculty, staff or students. Cornell affiliation may be mentioned in the "bio" or "about" section of personal social media accounts. However, it is prohibited to use Cornell brand elements on personal accounts in any way that may be interpreted as representing the university, such as by using the Cornell insignia as a profile image (Policy 4.16).

Account basics

Keep your account information accurate and up-to-date.

  • Update the profile bio.
    • For faculty, researchers, or staff: if you are using the platform to connect with peers in a professional capacity, it’s helpful to tag your university, college and department affiliation directly in your bio.
  • Choose a quality avatar photo.
  • Unfollow inactive and irrelevant accounts.

Update passwords and keep your account secure.

  • Review privacy and security settings. Enable two-factor authentication, reset passwords, review app permissions, and understand the terms of use for the platform you are on.
  • Avoid using the same password on the various platforms (and especially your personal email and financial accounts). Where permissible, maintain separate personal and professional social media accounts, and secure the latter to maintain privacy.

Proactively manage your reputation online.

  • Review search results related to your name on the following platforms: Google; Bing;; Google images; YouTube; Twitter; LinkedIn; Facebook; Instagram; Wikipedia; Quora; Reddit.
  • Correct inaccurate information where possible. For example, you can:
    • Edit Wikipedia pages
    • Request webpage updates
    • Remove social tags
    • Report to social platform
    • Deactivate old accounts
  • Set up a Google Alert. Alerts let you track search terms (such as your name) and be notified immediately when a new search with that term pops up. 

If you become a target of online harassment:

  • Do not engage. Interactions with trolls usually go poorly and prolong the issue. The trolls continue to act because they are getting a reaction.
  • Document the harassment by taking screenshots of messages, posts, and comments. Be sure to include date, time, type of communication, app name, nature of the incident.
  • Use restricting features such as muting, hiding or blocking. Muting or hiding can provide good alternatives to blocking because abusers do not know that they’ve been restricted.
  • Report the harassment to the platform. Describe the incident and type of threat that has occurred. Include as much information as possible in a single report.
  • Reach out for help. Contact your communications office. New Media and Strategic Communications work closely with colleges and will provide the necessary assistance. For specific threats or if you feel you are in physical danger, contact law enforcement.