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Social Media Records of Federal Agencies

Federal Agencies & Social Media

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was enacted by Congress in 1966 to ensure public access to the records generated by the Federal government and agencies. The law has undergone continual improvement during the past half century to keep pace with the way governments act and communicate, and the ways in which records are generated. In 2011, President Obama issued a memorandum that initiated an effort to update records management policies and practices to better incorporate 21st century records, including social media.

View Tallahassee's Social Media Policy!

City of Tallahassee Social Media and Collaboration Policy

  • All Social Media sites must clearly indicate that all Posts are subject to public records laws.
  • Do not edit posts. Any post that violates the Terms of Use Agreement or disclaimer should be documented for records retention and then deleted from public view. The comment maker should then be notified that he or she has violated the Terms of Agreement, specifying any and all Terms of Use that were violated.
  • Ensure Social Media Account implementation and use complies with applicable mandates, including, but not limited to: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ISS Security Policy (Administrative Policy 809), Chapter 119 Florida Statutes, City Policies 140 and 146 (Records Retention and Public Records – Administrative Policy 206), and any other applicable Federal, State or City policy.

Guidelines from the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) on Social Media as Public Records

Social media records of Federal agencies may be considered records under the Freedom of Information Act. According to a recent bulletin issued by the National Archives, “[s]ocial media allows individuals to collaborate, create, organize, edit, comment on, combine, and share content, likely resulting in the creation of Federal records.

View Tallahassee's Social Media Policy!

City of Tallahassee Social Media and Collaboration Policy

  • All Social Media sites must clearly indicate that all Posts are subject to public records laws.
  • Do not edit posts. Any post that violates the Terms of Use Agreement or disclaimer should be documented for records retention and then deleted from public view. The comment maker should then be notified that he or she has violated the Terms of Agreement, specifying any and all Terms of Use that were violated.
  • Ensure Social Media Account implementation and use complies with applicable mandates, including, but not limited to: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ISS Security Policy (Administrative Policy 809), Chapter 119 Florida Statutes, City Policies 140 and 146 (Records Retention and Public Records – Administrative Policy 206), and any other applicable Federal, State or City policy.

Federal Social Media Records Management in Practice

Two examples of how federal agencies are managing social media records for FOIA come from the Department of the Interior and the Department of Energy. The Department of the Interior has a comprehensive social media policy that explicitly addresses social media as public records under FOIA. The Department of Energy recognized that, “a record is a record is a record,” including social media, as early as 2010.

View Tallahassee's Social Media Policy!

City of Tallahassee Social Media and Collaboration Policy

  • All Social Media sites must clearly indicate that all Posts are subject to public records laws.
  • Do not edit posts. Any post that violates the Terms of Use Agreement or disclaimer should be documented for records retention and then deleted from public view. The comment maker should then be notified that he or she has violated the Terms of Agreement, specifying any and all Terms of Use that were violated.
  • Ensure Social Media Account implementation and use complies with applicable mandates, including, but not limited to: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ISS Security Policy (Administrative Policy 809), Chapter 119 Florida Statutes, City Policies 140 and 146 (Records Retention and Public Records – Administrative Policy 206), and any other applicable Federal, State or City policy.
View Tallahassee's Social Media Policy!

City of Tallahassee Social Media and Collaboration Policy

  • All Social Media sites must clearly indicate that all Posts are subject to public records laws.
  • Do not edit posts. Any post that violates the Terms of Use Agreement or disclaimer should be documented for records retention and then deleted from public view. The comment maker should then be notified that he or she has violated the Terms of Agreement, specifying any and all Terms of Use that were violated.
  • Ensure Social Media Account implementation and use complies with applicable mandates, including, but not limited to: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ISS Security Policy (Administrative Policy 809), Chapter 119 Florida Statutes, City Policies 140 and 146 (Records Retention and Public Records – Administrative Policy 206), and any other applicable Federal, State or City policy.
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ArchiveSocial and Federal Agencies

If you would like to speak with one of the Federal agencies that are currently using ArchiveSocial to meet FOIA requirements, please contact the Sales Team and we’ll put you in touch.

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