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For posting by authorized staff, volunteers & third parties on ADA Social Media Platforms

The American Dental Association’s (ADA) brand is defined by over 150 years of dedication to oral health. Comments on social media should be used in a way that adds value to the ADA’s core mission. The purpose of this protocol document is to provide direction to individuals who are authorized to post on the ADA’s social media platforms on behalf of the ADA.

Social media, as it pertains to this document , is defined as any ADA website, application or other platform that allows end-user interaction, and includes, but is not limited to, blogs, websites, networking websites (such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) online forums, podcasts, message boards, chat rooms and interactive web or mobile applications.

All individuals who will post and have administrative access to ADA’s social media platforms as part of their professional role must first be approved by their supervisor and by the Division of Communications & Marketing, as well as receive ongoing guidance from the ADA’s manager, social communication and engagement, and participate on the ADA’s social media content team.   For more information about social media at the ADA, please contact the Department of Public and Professional Communications.

Social Media Posting Protocol

1. Be professional: It is important that posts convey a positive, engaging attitude.  How you conduct yourself in the online social media space not only reflects upon you but also directly upon the ADA and its members.  

2. Be respectful: Avoid using unprofessional, disagreeable or offensive online personas. Don't use ethnic slurs, personal insults, or obscenity, or engage in any conduct that would not be acceptable in the Association or other professional workplace. Be sensitive to topics that may be considered objectionable or inflammatory—such as racial socio-economic or gender-based remarks. Always demonstrate respect for others’ points of view, even when they’re not offering the same in return.

3. Maintain confidentiality and privacy:  Do not share confidential or proprietary information about the ADA or its members, employees, vendors, and other health organizations, including private information about individuals, such as contact information or that is covered under HIPAA privacy and security laws.

4. Respect third party content:  Be careful of copyrights, trademarks, rights of publicity, and rights of privacy in your posting, including with regard to user‐generated content.  Do not claim authorship of something that is not yours. If you are knowingly using other parties’ content, make certain that they are credited for it in your post and that they approve of you utilizing their content. When in doubt, the ADA Division of Legal Affairs can assist.

5. Always let the subject matter experts respond and add value:  If you come across negative or disparaging posts about the ADA or its members, or see third parties trying to spark negative conversations, avoid the temptation to react personally, especially if the subject does not relate to your area of expertise. Contact the ADA’s Department of Public and Professional Communications at to determine how/if to respond.

6. When in doubt, do not post Individuals are personally responsible for their words and actions:  As an individual who is authorized to post on behalf of the ADA, it is imperative that you make every effort possible to confirm that your posts are accurate and not misleading.  If there is a question, hold the post until you can confirm its accuracy. Do not publish slanderous, libelous or otherwise illegal or questionable content. Exercise sound judgment and common sense, and if there is any doubt, do not post it. And please contact the ADA’s Department of Public and Professional Communications for guidance on how/if to respond.

7. Know that the Internet is permanent: Once information is published online, it is essentially part of a permanent record, even if you “remove/delete” it later or attempt to make it anonymous. When space does not allow all content, provide a link so the message can be expressed completely and accurately.

8. Keep your personal views separate: Always remember you are posting on behalf of the ADA when posting on ADA social media, so it is important to uphold and reflect the ADA’s mission and values, as well as the values of the profession. Do not include personal comments. Also always consider the professional ramifications of your personal comments on your personal feeds to your personal contacts.  No matter how tightly you secure the audience to these personal feeds, there is always the chance that unprofessional posts may make their way to the larger online public audience.

9. Transparency and affiliation with the ADA

ADA Social Media Platforms: Individuals authorized to post on behalf of the ADA on ADA Social Media Platforms should disclose their relationship with the ADA when not posting under the ADA name.

If you publish content online relevant to the ADA on a personal social media account  (and not through a process authorized by the ADA), you must make it clear that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of ADA.  Your profile bio or about page should include a disclaimer that reads something like: “The opinions and views expressed here are my own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the American Dental Association.” You should also include disclaimers on the appropriate individual posts whenever possible.  For example, when retweeting an ADA post, you might add something to the tweet like “proud I worked on this project” and make sure it links to the official project website.

Personal Social Media Platforms: Employees must abide by the ADA’s Social Media Policy included in the HR Protocol when posting ADA-related content on personal social media platforms.  Clearly identify your relationship with the ADA such as volunteer or staff member.

Use two separate Twitter applications, one for personal and one for business. This applies to applications accessed from either a desktop or mobile device and helps to ensure that the right message is posted to the right account.

Follow the Association’s Professional Conduct Policy and all other Association policies. Our Professional Conduct Policy requires all employees and volunteers to conduct themselves with courtesy, consideration and professionalism in their business dealings. In addition, several other policies govern ADA staff behavior in the online Social Media space, including the Electronic Communications Policy and Technology Usage protocol.

Violations of Protocol

Any employee who violates this social media protocol may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Assigned volunteers and third parties who violate this policy may be subject to denial of access to ADA’s social media platforms and termination of certain privileges.  

ADA Rights: ADA reserves the right to remove any posted comment or withdraw administrative rights for any individual who is authorized to post on behalf of the ADA at its sole discretion In addition, ADA reserves the right to suspend, modify, or withdraw this social media posting protocol at any time.