South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (SC FOIA) specifies that public records include all writings made by public bodies regardless of physical form.
“Public record” includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body.
“Public body” means any department of the State, a majority of directors or their representatives of departments within the executive branch of state government as outlined in Section 1-30-10, any state board, commission, agency, and authority, any public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, including committees, subcommittees, advisory committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known, and includes any quasi-governmental body of the State and its political subdivisions, including, without limitation, bodies such as the South Carolina Public Service Authority and the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
The South Carolina Reporters Committee offers a regularly updated Open Government Guide that covers the application of the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. This valuable resource discusses the intent and application of the law in a very readable and accessible format. An excerpt addressing social media records in South Carolina is below, but the full guide can be found here: Open Government Guide
1. What kind of records are covered?
Records “prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body” are subject to the act.
F. How are social media postings and messages treated?
Social media postings and messages meeting the definition of “public record” discussed above would be public.
The City of Greenville informs users of their Facebook page that comments may be deleted for reasons clearly outlined by the city. Although not explicitly outlined in the policy, retaining records of deleted posts is advisable to protect the municipality from accusations of First Amendment violations that may arise when comments are deleted.
Here’s what a few of the many cities, counties, and agencies that are meeting South Carolina’s requirements using ArchiveSocial’s fully automated solution for social media records management are saying:
“After reviewing all options, we found ArchiveSocial to be the best overall value for the City of Rock Hill.”
Katie Quinn, City of Rock Hill
“Partnering with ArchiveSocial has allowed us to provide citizens, government officials, and researchers access to social media content and conversations from a wide variety of state government agencies. Our Social Media Library facilitates open and easy access to the important outreach efforts and rich interactions between state agencies and the public that are happening every day through Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.”
Amanda Stone, South Carolina State Library