Setting up a social media account

Social media make it possible to reach relevant target groups, promote dialogue, contribute to transparency and monitoring. As a government agency, Karolinska Institutet (KI) has a number of obligations to observe that are based on current legislation. Responsibility as a government agency also applies to communication in social media.

These guidelines must be applied by all employees who use social media in their position at Karolinska Institutet.

Use of social media

Setting up an account

To use social media in connection with work, approval is required from the line manager with operational responsibility, for example the head of an department or department manager in the Central Administration. This makes it clear that an employee is using social media as a representative of the government agency Karolinska Institutet and not as a private individual. This procedure applies for all levels within the organisation: the Central Administration, departments, centres and research groups.

The Communications and Public Relations Office at the Central Administration should be contacted when a new account is set up. This is to make sure that there are not already accounts or other established communication channels for corresponding needs. To make communication as effective as possible and create collaboration, there is also a value in the Communications and Public Relations Office being aware of all accounts that are set up. The Communications and Public Relations Office can also provide support in the choice of channel and give advice on how social media can be used in communication work.

Purpose and objective

All accounts created in Karolinska Institutet’s name must have a clear purpose and objective. These must relate to to Karolinska Institutet’s activities and general strategy. To make sure that the social media presence achieves defined goals, the work must be measured and followed up.

The use of social media may not take place in breach of Karolinska Institutet’s values. The communication must relate to Karolinska Institutet’s operations or organisations with which Karolinska Institutet has official collaboration.


The ultimate responsibility for Karolinska Institutet’s social media accounts is in line with KI’s rules on decision-making and delegation. This means that every manager with operational responsibility has ultimate responsibility for an account.

This responsibility includes both contributions published by employees of Karolinska Institutet and contributions published by external visitors to the account in question. 

Resources and monitoring

Before a presence is established in social media, a resource assessment must be performed. For each account set up in the name of Karolinska Institutet, an account manager and deputy must always be appointed.

Karolinska Institutet’s accounts must be monitored on a daily basis in order to make sure that visitors’ comments do not infringe current laws and regulations. Unsuitable postings, such as personal data breaches, must be removed and questions must be answered. The account must be kept under daily review, even during holiday periods. The line manager with operational responsibility must make sure that resources are available for this.

Clearly defined sender

When an account is set up, it must be clearly evident that it is Karolinska Institutet that is behind the account. Users must know that they are communicating with an employee of the university.

In order to make it clear that Karolinska Institutet is the originator, KI’s graphical profile must be observed. The name Karolinska Institutet must be specified in the account description and there must be a reference to The name of the account must clearly explain which part of the university is responsible for it. It is recommended that KI or Karolinska Institutet be used as part of the account name.

It is also recommended that Karolinska Institutet’s logo be used as a profile image for all levels of the organisation. Cover images must reflect the operational activity. Use of the logo must comply with Karolinska Institutet’s rules on its graphical profile and the rules on KI’s brand platform.

Boundary between private and public

Employees of Karolinska Institutet are naturally entitled to express themselves freely in accordance with the freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution. In connection with the private use of social media, employees may mention their position and write about their work and about Karolinska Institutet’s activities.

Individual employees may not, however, take on the role of spokespersons for Karolinska Institutet in their private social media channels. Employees should avoid using their private accounts in their professional role far as this is possible, as this may make Karolinska Institutet’s obligations as a government agency more difficult with regard to handling public documents. Karolinska Institutet’s equipment must be used for work-related activities and not for private purposes.

Student ambassadors who communicate from a student’s perspective in social media on behalf of Karolinska Institutet are not official spokespersons of Karolinska Institutet. Accounts that are set up by students do not count as official channels.

To bear in mind

As a government agency, Karolinska Institutet has a number of laws and regulations that must be applied when using social media.

Non-permitted content

Karolinska Institutet’s channels may not contain:

  • sensitive personal data
  • confidential personal data
  • slander, personal attacks, violation of personal integrity or racial agitation
  • data that may constitute provocation, illegal threats, illegal depictions of violence, child pornography crimes or incitement of other criminal activity
  • unlawful use of copyright-protected material
  • advertising or product placement.

Postings and comments that are in breach of the above must be deleted. A screenshot of the posting must be saved digitally in a local archive or sent to the registry at the department where the account was set up.

Dealing with questions and comments

As a government agency, Karolinska Institutet has an obligation to deal with cases and enquiries as quickly as possible. Karolinska Institutet recommends that questions and comments in social media be dealt with within 24 hours on working days and on the next working day at weekends.

Criticism aimed at Karolinska Institutet must be dealt with by those with operational responsibility. A professional, factual and open approach must be adopted to critical postings as well as other questions and comments.

Public document

Content that Karolinska Institutet publishes in social media and that visitors contribute in their dialogue with Karolinska Institutet constitute a public document and may be registered and disclosed.

Registration and archiving

Most questions and comments in social media do not need to be registered. This applies, for example, to general questions about studies and current research projects. Postings of this nature can be automatically saved in the social medium’s own archive, on the condition that they can be searched and disclosed in the event of an enquiry.

Questions or comments that require action must be registered. This may involve, for example, critical postings about Karolinska Institutet’s activities or postings that are in breach of current laws and regulations.

A screenshot must be taken of the posting and of KI’s response and then marked with the date and sent to the registry at the department where the account was set up.

Once every six months or before major changes, the account manager must take a screenshot of the channel’s start page and save it locally on a shared server or as a printout.

Publication of images and videos

Karolinska Institutet recommends that people involved in photos or videos should give their consent to the material being published in social media. Consent may be verbal or written.

People being photographed or filmed in contexts where many people are featured should be informed of this and have the opportunity to object to publication.

Unless otherwise agreed, the originator (photographer) must be cited next to images or videos. The photographer must have given consent for images to be published in social media.


The communication that takes place in social media must be made accessible to as many as possible. The language must be correct, simple and understandable, and easy for the recipient to understand. It must also be possible for the communication to be understood by people with a functional impairment, for example those with impaired vision or hearing.

As Karolinska Institutet cannot control the interface on platforms provided by a third party, accessibility cannot be guaranteed. Important information must always be available in Karolinska Institutet’s own channels, primarily at Karolinska Institutet’s social media channels should therefore be viewed as a complement to the communication that takes place via the website, by phone, by email and in printed material.


It is important to explain which government agency rules visitors must observe when they visit an account set up by Karolinska Institutet. To the extent that the platform permits, there should be information to the effect that messages received from the public constitute a public document and that postings and comments that are in breach of Swedish law or are considered unsuitable can be deleted.


Karolinska Institutet has made a decision to the effect that postings and comments in social media may be purged (deleted) when the information is outdated. This means that postings and comments may be deleted when it is considered that they are no longer needed for KI’s operational activities. Purging may not take place if the medium is considered to have a future research value or if the public’s right to transparency is neglected.

Closing down

Channels that are no longer active must be closed down. If no one has the opportunity to regularly monitor incoming comments, the function to allow comments and questions should be disabled, if the platform permits this.


If you have any questions about the social media guidelines, please contact the Communications and Public Relations Office via .

KI Kommunikati…
Johanna Sjöblom