Schools to Social Media: Dedicate Verification/Reporting Processes to Distinguish Legitimate School Accounts
- By Kate Lucariello
In a survey of school communication and technology professionals,
more than half reported several social media platforms have no
dedicated account verification and reporting processes for accounts
owned by federally recognized preK–12 or K–12 schools. This lack
has burdened the schools with having to challenge fake-official and
mock accounts and get their own legitimate accounts verified, wasting
time and resources, and sometimes failing to prevail.
spring 2022 survey and report, titled “Schools and Social Media:
The Critical Need for Verification and Dedicated Reporting
Processes,” was a joint project by the National
School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and the
for School Networking (CoSN). The 292 NSPRA members
responding were from 43 states with educational organizations that
serve between 2,000 and 49,999 students.
showed that of over 50% who had dealt with fake or mock accounts,
only about a third were able to get their school accounts verified;
25% were denied verification; 59% had dealt with accounts that
harass, intimidate or bully students; and 45% could not get social
media platforms to remove offending accounts.
survey’s authors contacted authorities at six major social media
platforms: LinkedIn, Meta (Facebook), SnapChat, TikTok, Twitter, and
YouTube and asked three questions. Does the platform allow
verification of official school accounts? Does it provide a process
for legitimate schools to report fraudulent accounts misrepresenting
themselves as official? Does it provide a way to report fraudulent
accounts that harass, bully and intimate students?
the six, only Twitter said it was engaged in creating a process for
schools to legitimize their accounts, the other five said they had no
dedicated process, and all but SnapChat said they were “willing to
explore it.” Of the remaining two questions, none had dedicated
processes, and only YouTube said it was willing to explore creating
media is a powerful tool to engage families in local education, but
without dedicated verification and reporting processes, school
districts struggle to prevent the harm to students and staff caused
by malicious and fraudulent accounts,” said NSPRA Executive
Director Barbara M. Hunter, APR.
here to read the full report.
Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.