Social media guidelines

Social media offers several opportunities to communicate with and engage with Karolinska Institutet's (KI) target groups. As a government agency, KI has a number of obligatitons to observe that are based on current legislation.

The term social media refers to channels, groups and platforms, owned by third parties, that allow users to communicate directly with each other and/or that allow visitors to generate content. 

These guidelines are intended for all employees who use social media in their work. The guidelines specify the requirements for setting up a social media account or group and communicating on the channels.

Use of social media

Setting up an account with KI as content originator

To set up and administer an account with KI listed as content originator, approval is required from the immediate manager with operational responsibility. This makes it clear that an employee or function is using social media as an employee of KI and not as a private individual. Accounts set up for a university-wide purpose and accounts set up within university administration must be approved by the Director of Communications.

When setting up an account with KI as the content originator, the following also applies:

  • The Communications and Public Relations Office must be informed that the account is being opened.
  • New accounts created must be registered.
  • There must be a clear purpose to ensure operational and target audience benefit. See more under 2.2 Purpose, objectives and operational benefit.
  • The account must be managed by at least two responsible persons or a group within KI. See more under 2.4 Resources must exist. 
  • KI must be clearly identified as being responsible for the account. See more under 2.5 Boundary between private accounts and KI accounts.

Purpose, objectives and operational benefit

All accounts set up with KI as content originator must have a clear purpose and objective. The presence must be in line with KI's overall operational objectives and strategy and the university's values and mandate.

The communication must always be on the terms of the target group. In order to effectively support KI in achieving selected operational objectives, the content must be based on the behaviour of the target group and the conditions of the channels. The target group and purpose determine which channel should be prioritised.

The main reason for KI's social media presence is to increase interest in and engagement with KI and to promote dialogue with KI's target groups. Social media should not be used as a bulletin board or a channel for internal communication to employees. The recommendation is to use KI's contracted platforms for internal communication, where KI can also offer support and a higher level of IT security.

Account managers must ensure that communication efforts are continuously monitored.


Responsibility for KI's social media accounts follow the operational responsibility specified in the decision-making procedures and delegation rules for Karolinska Institutet. This means that a manager with operational responsibility is ultimately responsible for a KI account that has been set up within that manager's area of responsibility and that is administered by their staff.

This responsibility covers all posts and comments published by KI staff and external users. KI may be liable for damages if unauthorised information is posted or shared.

Employees managing accounts must understand the terms and conditions of the respective channels.

Resources must exist

As a government agency, KI must moderate and monitor its social media accounts. This means that the responsible manager must carry out a resource assessment before an account with KI as content originator is set up in the relevant area of activity. At least two employees must have access to the account and substitutes must always be available. In case of holidays or other absences, the immediate manager must ensure that resources are available to ensure the following elements:

  • Accounts with KI as content originator must be monitored weekdays, year-round, to moderate inappropriate posts and comments.
  • Questions must be answered promptly all year round.
  • Content is to be created on an ongoing basis and adapted to the target groups of the channel and to the conditions of the channels.
  • Communication initiatives and content must be monitored on an ongoing basis, and adjusted to support priority operational objectives.

Boundary between private accounts and KI accounts

There should be no doubt as to the capacity in which an employee is communicating in social media.

It should be made clear when KI is the content originator of an account. KI's graphic profile must be followed in accordance with Guidelines on the Karolinska Institutet Brand. There must be a reference to It must also be clear which part of the university is responsible for the account.

In private accounts, employees have the right to express themselves freely in accordance with the freedom of expression and communication. For example, employees can state their employment and communicate about their specialist area. The opinions expressed by employees in their private accounts are their own. Private accounts may not be used for communication in the name of or on behalf of KI. Exceptions are made for persons with the right to act as spokespersons for KI. The right to speak on behalf of KI follows from the responsibilities of the person's position within KI (see also Karolinska Institutet Communications Policy).

To keep in mind and observe

Public document

As an authority, KI is subject to principle of public access. Posts that KI publishes on social media and that outsiders make in dialogue with KI become public documents. The content must be kept in order and must be made available upon request.


Once every six months or before major changes to the account, the account manager must take a screenshot of the account profile page and save it locally on a shared server or as a printout. Follow the Document Management Plan for Karolinska Institutet's Documents.

Purging (deleting) content

In accordance with KI's disposal decision (see Document Management Plan for Karolinska Institutet's Documents) and the regulations of Riksarkivet (Swedish National Archives), content and posts of minimal or temporary importance may be deleted when it is deemed that they are no longer needed for KI's activities. Posts that require case management must be registered. Purging may not take place if the content is deemed to have future research value or if doing so would violate the public's right of access.

Prohibited content

Accounts for which KI is content originator may not contain material that violates applicable legislation. Posts and comments containing prohibited content shall be promptly removed. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • incitement to commit a crime, unlawful threats, unlawful depictions of violence or child pornography offences
  • sensitive personal or confidential information
  • agitation against an ethnic group
  • defamation, libel or unlawful invasion of privacy
  • unauthorised use of copyrighted material

Handling of questions and comments

As a public authority, KI has a duty to handle matters promptly and to respond to questions in all channels in which KI is listed as content originator.

Criticism and questions directed at part or all of the activities of Karolinska Institutet must be answered and handled with the support of the persons responsible for the activities or those within the activities who have expertise in the respective area.

Consent and GDPR

Through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), any kind of information that can be linked to an individual is considered personal data. This means that people who participate and are identifiable by photo, video, audio or name must give their consent to the material being published on social media where KI is the content originator. 

Social media communications must also take into account the channels' terms of use, which may include a right to personal data processing by a third party and to third countries. The GDPR and other regulations governing research also affect the possibility of using social media for personal data processing in research.

The creator must always be mentioned in connection with images or videos, unless otherwise agreed. The creator must have consented to the publication of images on social media.


The language used in social media should be polished, simple and understandable. Communications shall be made accessible in accordance with the Act (2018:1937) on Digital Accessibility of Public Services.

Closing accounts

Accounts that are no longer active must be closed. The Registry Office and the Communications and Public Relations Office must be notified of this. An inactivate account is one in which content has not been published and monitored, as described in Section 2.2 Purpose, objectives and operational benefit and 2.4 Resources must exist.

The Director of Communications may decide on the closure of accounts set up with a university-wide purpose and/or within university administration.


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

Social media guidelines