Social Media Standards and Policies
As the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) continues to expand its social media presence, the Agency's goal is to ensure that social media outreach efforts by Agency staff and contractors are well coordinated and that the Agency maintains the highest standards for its brand and messages.
Those who wish to use social media technologies as part of official AHRQ communications must follow standards and policies that govern information and information technology. Below is a list of the standards and policies that apply to the use of social media. Visit the HHS New Media Standards and Policies Checklist (PDF File, Plugin Software Help) for more information.
AHRQ staff should work with an OCKT representative to complete the AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help) for any social media outreach.
For general questions on social media, Email email@example.com. For technical questions, Email Randie Siegel (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Biff LeVee (email@example.com).
AHRQ's Social Media Presence
AHRQ uses and has policies for the following social media tools:
Twitter: AHRQ maintains two Twitter accounts, @AHRQNews and @AHRQConf for the AHRQ Annual Conference. Please read the AHRQ Twitter Policy for additional guidance.
YouTube: AHRQ maintains a YouTube channel, AHRQHealthTV . Please read the AHRQ YouTube Policy for additional guidance.
Facebook: AHRQ creates Facebook pages for specific topics or campaigns. Please read the AHRQ Facebook Policy for additional guidance.
Blogs: Due to resource limitations, AHRQ does not currently maintain or monitor a public blog. Please read the AHRQ Blog Policy for additional information.
AHRQ Social Media Tools
AHRQ has approved the following social media tools for use:
||Not in use
||Government contests/challenges platforms
||Cleared to use
See specific AHRQ policy guidance for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Blogs. Use of other social media tools listed on the HHS Terms of Service page is permissible, but specific AHRQ guidelines have not been developed for those tools. If you are interested in a tool not listed above, contact your OCKT strategic planner for assistance.
- Criteria and Approvals. Please go to the AHRQ's Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help) and the policy specific for each tool for complete details. Highlights of AHRQ policies for specific social media tools are as follows:
- Twitter: Suggested tweets for the @AHRQNews Twitter account should be sent to Twitter@ahrq.hhs.gov. Tweets must be 140 characters or fewer and should include a Web link to the AHRQ information being promoted. Please read the AHRQ Twitter Policy for additional guidance.
- Facebook: Content must be robust enough to support weekly posts. Send requests to set up a new Facebook page to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request for should include a completed AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help). Please read the AHRQ Facebook Policy for additional guidance.
- YouTube: Videos for YouTube must be captioned before they can be posted to AHRQHealthTV , AHRQ's YouTube Channel. Comments are enabled on AHRQ's YouTube channel but are disabled on individual videos. Send requests to post video or for a new YouTube channel to Biff LeVee at email@example.com. Requests for a YouTube channel should include a completed AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help). Please read the AHRQ YouTube Policy for additional guidance.
- Blogs: AHRQ does not currently maintain or monitor a public blog. Send requests to create a blog to firstname.lastname@example.org. The request should include a completed AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help). Please read the AHRQ Blog Policy for additional guidance.
Note: AHRQ programs that maintain independent Twitter accounts, YouTube channels, Facebook pages, or blogs must assign staff members to monitor the account in accordance with AHRQ's Comment Policy.
- In addition to reviewing AHRQ's policies on social media tools, prior to initiating social media outreach, Agency staff should also:
AHRQ follows HHS guidelines for social media content. Two valuable resources on social media content are—
Please also see AHRQ's policies on specific social media tools for specific guidance on content.
Official Agency Sources of Information and Branding
- Link to an AHRQ Web site from the social media tool.
- Use branding on the social media tool that clearly identifies your program's ownership or sponsorship as a Federal Government entity.
Official Public Comment
- Do not solicit consensus advice (i.e., conduct polls) using social media technologies.
Public Privacy Protection
- Work with OCKT to complete a Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), if appropriate. An AHRQ representative will notify the HHS Privacy Team that you are starting an account with a third-party Web site and that you may need to complete a PIA.
Cookies and Third-Party Sites and Applications
- Contact Pat Bosco, AHRQ's Records Management Officer, at email@example.com or (301) 427-1207 to determine the appropriate records schedule and records management practices.
Linking, Liking, and Following
- Include an exit disclaimer when linking to non-government links.
- Review the individual social media tool policies for guidance on which entities are appropriate to like and follow using social media tools.
Return to AHRQ's Social Media Policies and Tools
Current as of August 2012
Social Media Standards and Policies. August 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/news/socmedia/socstandpol.htm