Question: Our department is using a social networking site to push messages out to students about our department and events. Are there any FERPA considerations with doing this?
Answer: Yes. Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ are great ways to push messages to your general student population, to create and build community among students, faculty, and staff in your department, and to receive feedback on the services you are providing. However, FERPA still applies to the information that exists on University sponsored social network accounts. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Social networking sites should be used only to disseminate general messages or events to students. No student specific information or private student information should be posted.
- When corresponding with a student about their student record you must send from and send to official U of M email accounts. Using the email or messaging features within a social networking site is not an acceptable or secure method of transmission of private student data.
- If a student posts a question or comment to your social networking account and the response would require release of private student data, including suppressed directory information, the response should be sent to the student's official U of M email account.