AHRQ Facebook Policy

Social Media Policies and Tools

Social Media Policies and Tools for Facebook

About Facebook

Facebook is a free Web-based network that helps people connect with other individuals, organizations, and ideas. The Facebook ecosystem is made up of hundreds of separate networks based around schools, businesses, regions, and other shared interests.

Individual users have accounts called "profiles" that they update by posting pictures, comments, and videos for others to view. Users can also read a "news feed" of updates from other people in their network. Users grow their networks by requesting other users to become "friends," or by "liking" accounts held by organizations or public figures.

Organizations and public figures, including government offices, don't have profiles but instead have pages. Pages are similar to profiles, but pages represent an official professional presence.

Facebook, like other social media platforms, can be used to gauge interest in a topic, gain feedback on a product, announce a campaign, and see the impact of research.

How AHRQ Uses Facebook

The Office of Communications and Knowledge Transfer (OCKT) maintains the main Facebook account for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)—http://www.facebook.com/ahrq.gov. AHRQ's goal is to expand its presence on Facebook and strategically create additional pages that further the Agency's reach and mission.

AHRQ uses Facebook to achieve four goals:

  1. To speak with one voice on behalf of the Agency and distribute content to consumers.
  2. To communicate with consumers directly and in an engaging way.
  3. To increase the number of friends to spread AHRQ's messages to consumer audiences.
  4. To raise the Agency's profile by highlighting work that is central to AHRQ's mission.

Facebook Content

OCKT will work collaboratively with each AHRQ Office and Center to identify and post Facebook content. The purpose of each post is to disseminate the most up-to-date and relevant information with a focus on the consumer. Both OCKT and program staff can develop posts; all AHRQ Facebook page posts are subject to review by OCKT staff and program staff

Interactivity

Facebook places a high value communication between the sender and receiver. On Facebook, this interactivity occurs in three ways: "Liking" other Facebook users' statuses, sharing or posting links, and responding to comments or questions. The following policy governs AHRQ's Facebook interactivity.

  • Liking: AHRQ will like other Federal, State, and local health care-related agencies as well as partners, stakeholders, and influencers. AHRQ will not like political pages.
  • Sharing posts: AHRQ will share information upon request, provided that the post aligns with AHRQ's mission, from Federal and State health care-related agencies and organizations that have a relationship with AHRQ. Requests to share other organizations' information will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • Responding to inquiries or comments:
    1. All AHRQ Facebook pages, including those representing individual campaigns or portfolios, will include language that directs users to the AHRQ Contact Us page (http://www.ahrq.gov/info/customer.htm) if they have any questions or comments. Inquiries received through the Contact Us page will follow the AHRQ process for response.
    2. AHRQ will abide by the Comment Policy when reviewing comments. All AHRQ Facebook accounts will include a link to the Comment Policy.
    3. For comments that may not be addressed by the Comment Policy, OCKT or appropriate program staff will review the post and craft a response.
    4. AHRQ will not respond to media inquiries through Facebook. Media inquiries will be sent to OCKT.

Approval and Set Up

To submit content to be posted on the AHRQ Facebook page, send an email to socialmedia@ahrq.hhs.gov that includes: The text for the post, date it should be posted, and any related links. See Guidelines below for additional details.

To create your own AHRQ Facebook page, fill out the AHRQ Social Media Checklist (PDF File, 25 KB; Plugin Software Help) and submit it to socialmedia@ahrq.hhs.gov. Also, work with an OCKT managing editor to ensure appropriate external link disclaimers are put in place.

Guidelines

OCKT welcomes suggestions for AHRQ Facebook posts from AHRQ's Offices and Centers and asks that staff follow these guidelines:

  • Suggestions for Facebook posts must include a Web link to the item, to additional information, or to a phone number.
  • Posts should be concise and written in plain language. Go to http://www.ahrq.gov/news/plainlanguage.htm for additional guidance on plain language.
  • Posts can highlight any AHRQ product: Guides, databases, toolkits, Web conferences, events, exhibits, presentations, research findings, funding announcements, final reports, etc.
  • Posts are limited to one status update per day or five updates per week. Posting too frequently may cause users to "un-like" AHRQ.
  • Examples of Facebook posts:

Return to AHRQ's Social Media Guidelines

Page last reviewed August 2012
Internet Citation: AHRQ Facebook Policy: Social Media Policies and Tools. August 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/policy/social-media/facebook/index.html