Oklahoma Open Records Act & Social Media
The Oklahoma Open Records Act states that public records include all writings made by public agencies regardless of physical form, including electronic records.
Open Records Act Text
1. “Record” means all documents, including, but not limited to, any book, paper, photograph, microfilm, data files created by or used with computer software, computer tape, disk, record, sound recording, film recording, video record or other material regardless of physical form or characteristic, created by, received by, under the authority of, or coming into the custody, control or possession of public officials, public bodies, or their representatives in connection with the transaction of public business, the expenditure of public funds or the administering of public property.
Social Media Records Guidelines from the Office of State Finance
The Oklahoma Office of State Finance released “Social Networking and Social Media Policy and Standards” for government agencies in the State of Oklahoma that clearly identify social media content as public records.
Oklahoma Social Networking Standards
Open Records Act
All content, comments and replies posted on any state agency social media, Web 2.0 or social networking technology are subject to the Oklahoma Open Records Act. Information disseminated using these technologies is subject to being re-printed in newspapers, magazines or online in any other web or web media format.
Social computing content created or received by state agency personnel – whether during work hours or on personal time, and regardless of whether the communication device is publicly or privately owned – may meet the definition of a record as defined by State statute, when the content is made or received in connection with the transaction of the official business of the agency [67 O.S., §203(a)] and should be retained as required.
Oklahoma Social Media Records Management in Practice
The City of Tulsa offers a great example of a comprehensive social media policy that explicitly applies the Open Records Act to social media records in Oklahoma.
Tulsa's Social Media Policy
City of Tulsa social media sites are subject to State of Oklahoma open records laws. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to City business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication, is a public record. The Department maintaining the site is responsible for responding completely and accurately to any open records request for public records on social media. Content related to City business shall be maintained in an accessible format and can be produced in response to a request (see the City of Tulsa Facebook, Twitter, Flickr® and YouTube standards). Wherever possible, such sites shall clearly indicate that any articles and any other content posted or submitted for posting are subject to public disclosure.