Social Media

Policies

Whatever the tool, whether it's for official Service communication or an employee's personal use; we use social media in accordance with all applicable Federal laws, the Department of the Interior social media policy, digital media guidelines and the requirements and policies outlined on this website.

Additional relevant policies:

Comment policy

We welcome your comments and hope that our conversations here will be courteous. You are fully responsible for the content of your comments. In all our forums, we monitor comments either before they are published or shortly thereafter.

We never discriminate against any views, but we reserve the right to delete any of the following: 

  • off-topic comments
  • violent, vulgar, obscene, profane, hateful, or racist comments
  • comments that threaten or defame any person or organization
  • the violation of the privacy of another individual
  • solicitations, advertisements, or endorsements of any financial, commercial, or non-governmental agency
  • comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity
  • comments promoting or opposing any person who is campaigning for election to a political office or promoting or opposing any ballot proposition
  • comments including phone numbers, email addresses, residential addresses, or similar information
  • multiple, successive off-topic posts by a single user
  • repetitive posts copied and pasted by multiple users

Egregious or repeated violations of the comment policy may result in the deletion of your comment or the reporting of your account to third party site administrators.

Communication made through official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service social media accounts, blogs, and/or online forums or groups will in no way constitute a legal or official notice or comment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or any official or employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any purpose.

References to commercial entities, products, services, or nongovernmental organizations or individuals are provided solely for information. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the United States Government, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Reporters or other media representatives are asked to send questions through their normal channels (the appropriate FWS office public affairs or communications office) and to refrain from submitting questions through official U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service social media accounts, blogs, and/or online forums or groups as comments.

This Comment Policy is subject to amendment or modification at any time to ensure that its continued use is consistent with its intended purpose as a limited forum.

Learn more about how we use the comment policy to de-escalate conflicts on social media (DOI employees only)

Platform policies and recommendations

Just getting started?

Take a look at the minimum requirements and recommended practices for each tool to get a better idea of what it takes to use each platform. Once you have identified the tool that you think is right for you, reach out to your digital strategist to discuss next steps.

Facebook

Facebook is our most widely adopted tool for interacting with citizens on social media. Facebook is a visual platform where photos and videos can help catch people’s attention and further our message. Users expect posts to be brief, but interesting and informative. One unique feature offered through Facebook is post targeting. This allows us to public content targeted at specific audiences based on interest, location, language and more.

Approved use

Headquarters, Regional Offices, Field Stations

Posting frequency

Recommended: Multiple times daily
Minimum: 3 - 5 original posts each week

Post content

Required: A message that ties to the Service mission or has a nature or conservation theme
Recommended: Photo plus 2 - 3 short sentences and a link to more information

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact and view comments

Resources

Management plan
Account request form

Twitter

Twitter tends to be less visual than other social networks, though the integration of photos, videos and gifs are becoming more and more common. Twitter requires posts to be 280 characters or fewer and users expect posts to be very brief and to the point. In addition to publishing content, Twitter is a valuable listening tool that allows us to further understand what people are interested in and what is catching their attention. Trending topics help us tap into current trends and stay on top of developing events.

Approved use

Headquarters, Regional Offices, Field Stations

Posting frequency

Recommended: Multiple times daily
Minimum: 3 - 5 original posts each week

Post content

Required: A message that ties to the Service mission or has a nature or conservation theme
Recommended: 280 characters or less with a link to more information

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan
Account request form

Instagram

Instagram is a photo and video sharing social network that combines visuals with short captions. Users expect content to be consistent and true to the “brand” of the account. The most successful accounts stick to one type of photography -  whether that be landscapes, travel, or in our case, wildlife. We use this account to highlight some of our best visuals from around the country.

Approved use

One national account

Posting frequency

Daily or more

Post content

Required: Photo with short caption and credit
Recommended: Hashtags, location if applicable

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan

Medium

Medium is a visual blogging platform that allows users to follow our account and subscribe to publications. Users expect content to be well written and illustrated with visuals, but not too technical. Some of the biggest draws to Medium are the quick, easy-to-use interface and clean design. As a bonus, Medium provides viewers with an estimated reading time so they know approximately how long the content is before they dive in and start to read. Medium allows us to easily publish content without the requirement of being on the FWS network, perfect for publishing on the go or making quick updates as needed.

Approved use

Headquarters

Posting frequency

As content is available

Post content

Required: A message that ties to the Service mission or has a nature or conservation theme
Recommended: Photos that illustrate your story throughout

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan

Flickr

Flickr is a photo hosting social network that allows users to find and use our vast photo libraries. Many serious photographers use this platform to display their work and connect with others. Users expect high-quality photos, accurate species identification and adequate details.

Approved use

Headquarters, Regional Offices

Posting frequency

As content is available

Post content

Required: Photo with caption, credit and description
Recommended: Descriptive tags

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan

YouTube

YouTube is a video hosting social network that allows users to find and view videos in addition to embedding them on websites. Users expect high-quality videos that are informative, entertaining and to the point. Our content ranges from quick wildlife clips to fully-produced video pieces.

Approved use

One national account

Posting frequency

As content is available

Post content

Required: High quality video, captioned and audio described
Recommended: 3 minutes or less

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan

Linkedin

Linkedin is a business platform that allows users to follow pages and join groups based on interests around networking and professional opportunities. We have a company page on the platform and we post content that contains useful information for those who follow us, engaging people interested in professional opportunities and our work.

Approved use

One national account

Posting frequency

As content is available

Post content

Required: A message that ties to the Service mission or has a nature or conservation theme
Recommended: Photo plus 2 - 3 short sentences and a link to more information

Content accessibility

Visible to public, account required to interact

Resources

Management plan

Additional tools

In some cases, GitHub, Pinterest, Slideshare, Steller and blogs may be available for use. Reach out to your digital strategist to discuss further.

Resources

Account request form