About AHRQ's 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 for more information.
AHRQ staff should work with an Office of Communications (OC) representative to complete the AHRQ Social Media Checklist for any social media outreach.
AHRQ's Social Media Presence
AHRQ uses and has policies for the following social media tools:
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:
|Social network||In use|
|YouTube||Video hosting/sharing||In use|
|Blogs||Two-way communication||Not in use|
|Flickr||Photo Sharing||In use|
|Challenge.gov||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 OC strategic planner for assistance.
Criteria and Approvals. Please go to the AHRQ Social Media Checklist 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. 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. 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. 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:
- Consult their Office or Center Director for approval.
- Review HHS New Media Social Media Considerations to determine the ability of social media to meet their needs.
- Complete the AHRQ Social Media Checklist and Email it to email@example.com.
AHRQ follows HHS guidelines for social media content. Two valuable resources on social media content are—
- Guidance on When and How to Engage Over New Media Platforms
- Social Media Considerations: Questions To Ask Before Jumping In
Please also see AHRQ's policies on specific social media tools for specific guidance on content.
Ensure you gain permission to use any trademarked images, logos, or other copyrighted content. Go to AHRQ's copyright permission policy for more information.
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.
Ensure that content posted or produced through social media tools is accessible to people with disabilities and is in compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Read the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance on Information Collection under the Paperwork Reduction Act to determine if you need to seek approval from the Office of Information Collection.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 427-1207 to determine the appropriate records schedule and records management practices.
Link to AHRQ's Comment Policy if you allow comments.
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.