Nevada Public Records Act & Social Media
The Nevada Public Records Act requires that provisions of this law “must be construed liberally” to carry out its purpose of providing the public with access to records. While social media records are not specifically addressed, electronic materials are not exempt and the law is written to be liberally applied. Therefore, social media records in Nevada should comply with the Law.
Nevada Law Text
Excerpt from Nevada Public Records Act
NRS 239.001 Legislative findings and declaration. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
1.The purpose of this chapter is to foster democratic principles by providing members of the public with access to inspect and copy public books and records to the extent permitted by law;
2.The provisions of this chapter must be construed liberally to carry out this important purpose;
3.Any exemption, exception or balancing of interests which limits or restricts access to public books and records by members of the public must be construed narrowly; and
4.The use of private entities in the provision of public services must not deprive members of the public access to inspect and copy books and records relating to the provision of those services.
1.Except as otherwise declared by law to be confidential, all public books and public records of a governmental entity must be open at all times during office hours to inspection by any person
Guidance on Social Media Records in Nevada from the State Library, Archives & Public Records
The Nevada State Library, Archives & Public Records provides guidance on the Public Records Act for State agencies. The document makes clear that all agency records are presumed open, including any information created or received by an agency, “regardless of physical form.” As evidenced by this document, social media records in Nevada should be considered public record.
Nevada State Library Guidance
Excerpt from Nevada State Library Guidance
NRS 239.080 State records: Schedules for retention and disposition. 1. An official state record may be disposed of only in accordance with a schedule for retention and disposition which is approved by the Committee. 2. In cooperation with the Division4 3. The Division shall submit the schedules described in subsection 2 to the Committee for final approval. , each agency, board and commission shall develop a schedule for the retention and disposition of each type of official state record. 4. As used in this section, “official state record” includes, without limitation, any: (a) Papers, unpublished books, maps and photographs; (b) Information stored on magnetic tape or computer, laser or optical disc; (c) Materials which are capable of being read by a machine, including microforms and audio and visual materials; and (d) Materials which are made or received by a state agency and preserved by that agency or its successor as evidence of the organization, operation, policy or any other activity of that agency or because of the information contained in the material.
NAC 239.705 “Official record” “public record” or “record” means information created or received by an agency of the Executive Department or the Nevada System of Higher Education under authority of law, regulation or other legal mandate or in connection with the transaction of public business that is maintained by the agency or the Nevada System of Higher Education, or its legitimate successor, as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the agency or the Nevada System of Higher Education, including, without limitation, all papers, maps, photographs, financial statements, statistical tabulations, recorded media and other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics.
Managing Public Records
Agencies are responsible for making certain all of their records, regardless of format, are properly retained and remain accessible during their entire retention period. All records must be stored in a secure and stable environment that will protect them from alteration, damage and degradation.
Nevada Social Media Records Management in Practice
The City of Reno Social Media Policy specifies that social media records must comply with City records retention policies. This serves as a good model for handling social media records in Nevada.
City of Reno Social Media Policy
Excerpt from the City of Reno Social Media Policy
E. Records Retention
- Content developers will keep electronic copies of all messages created for an distributed on social media by the City of Reno. Messages posted tot he City’s newsroom or news blog are archived automatically. Records shall be retained in conformance with the Records Retention Schedules, Policy No. 207.
- When possible, content developers should avoid creating new material on social media sites. Instead, use existing material from existing websites or previously published documents to ensure that other forms of the information are retained.
- When deleting comments or posts, staff should save a screen capture as a jpeg of the content and send it to a public information employee in Public Information for archiving.
- The City should retain copies of the legal terms and conditions required for creating a social media account.