Social Media Records in Florida

Florida Public Records Law (“Sunshine Law”) & Social Media

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.

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Public Records Law: Florida Statutes Chapter 119

(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.

Social Media Records Guidelines from the Office of the Attorney General

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.

View the Attorney General's Guidelines

What kinds of agency records are subject to the Public Records Act?:

(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.

 

Florida Social Media Records Management in Practice

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

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.

ArchiveSocial in Florida

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:

Nassau County FL

“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

Palm Beach County Logo

“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

St. Lucie County Sheriff's Office Seal

“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

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