The Florida Public Records Law, or Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, requires that government agencies preserve public records regardless of physical form. This includes the digital records created through social media.
(12) “Public records” means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.
The Office of the Attorney General of Florida specifically mentions Facebook in their Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual guidelines for computer records, and lays the responsibility for capturing and retaining social media records in Florida on the agencies that create them.
(1) Facebook: The Attorney General’s Office has stated that the placement of material on a city’s Facebook page presumably would be in connection with the transaction of official business and thus subject to Ch. 119, F.S., although in any given instance, the determination would have to be made based upon the definition of “public record” contained in s. 119.11, F.S AGO 09-19. To the extent that the information on the city’s Facebook page constitutes a public record, the city is under an obligation to follow the public records retention schedules established by law.
The City of Tallahassee offers a great example of a comprehensive social media policy that clearly outlines the impact of the Sunshine Law on social media records
Source: Florida Bar Journal
Redondo Beach Abandons Facebook Page Amid Legal Concerns ABA Journal, August 24, 2010
A Very Public, Public Records Request for Social Media ArchiveSocial blog, May 7, 2014
Here is just a sampling of the many cities, counties, and agencies that are meeting Florida’s requirements using ArchiveSocial’s fully automated solution for social media records management:
“We were interested in expanding our social media presence but didn’t feel comfortable doing that without a plan for records compliance. ArchiveSocial made it easy for us to fulfill our requirements.”
Sabrina Robertson, Nassau County
“ArchiveSocial is a very user friendly and affordable solution for archiving social media accounts. On average it saves us 4 hours per week of manual archiving time. Well worth the monthly fee.”
Heather Shirm, Palm Beach County
“Public agencies need an easy-to-use, credible method of retaining social media posts. ArchiveSocial has automated this otherwise burdensome task.”
Sheriff Ken J. Mascara, St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office