The University of Colombo (UoC) has issued guidelines for students to follow when using social media platforms, including forbidding students from criticising the university.
These Guide Lines indirectly imply that the Social Media activities of the University students will be monitored.
Facebook, WhatsApp, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Viber, LinkedIn, Telegram, Blogs, YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat are mentioned as SM platforms that will be monitored.
Here are some of the questionable Guide Lines posted on the UoC web site:
- As a registered student of the University of Colombo, you are kindly requested to protect and safeguard the reputation of our University. If you are not satisfied with some services, rules/regulations of the university, or staff members, you should not criticize openly in social media. You can communicate your concerns to your counsellors, academic coordinators/tutors, or other officials of the university and seek a feasible solution. Problems cannot be solved by criticizing on social media.
- When you are sharing a post of some other people (friends or third parties) in social media, you must be mindful that such postings may not be correct. If you have participated in false propaganda intentionally or unintentionally, legal action could be taken against you.
- In social media, people could easily fabricate reality by posting messages or photographs. Such people may invite you to participate in a protest campaign using your personal identity and asking you to post contents/share messages or emails to both university officials and outside parties. We kindly advise you to be most mindful when you participate in such activities and bring disrespect to the reputation of your University.
- Every citizen has freedom of speech and expression. However, it should not be used to attack organizations, groups, or individuals by posting hate speech, sharing others’ critical or sensitive messages, expressing opinions that will create suspicion or social unrest within the wider society using social media. If you have contributed to or assisted in such activities using social media, you would face disciplinary action.
- Some may assume that it is ‘safe’ to engage in wrongful activities using a bogus identity/account and this method will protect the actual person. Technology and tools are available to trace the real identity of such persons. Authorities could identify the person, the actual device, and physical location if and when necessary. Therefore, we strongly advise you not to engage in unauthorized or illegal activities using a bogus identity.
All Guide Lines can be accessed here