State records laws are clear

Agencies and school districts are responsible for securing social media records.

Public Records Request

Social Media is a Public Record

Agencies must be prepared to respond to Public Records Requests

In all 50 states social media is considered public record, and agencies have an obligation to comply with open records laws.

Sample State Law:

California Public Records Act Section 6252

Public records includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used, or retained by any state or local agency regardless of physical form or characteristics.

CalRIM eRecords Guidebook (10/2015)

A plan to export records from a social media site to a recordkeeping system is important and should be created in collaboration with an agency’s IT department.

State Regulations

State Regulations

View your state regulations

Click the map below to learn how state public records laws apply to your social media or select your state from the list. (Need help?) For information on social media records in Australia, click here.

State Page Map

 

Social media is a public record because it is communication from county government. It is something that is transparent and needs to preserved in case there are ever questions from the media or the public about what the county has done and why.

Bronlea Mischler
Communications Coordinator
Skagit County, WA

Risks of not Archiving

If You Are Not Archiving, How Would You Respond to a Records Request?

Social media archiving is the only way to consistently respond to records requests.

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You cannot rely on the social networks to produce your records.

The social networks have no legal obligation to archive content for records requests.

Users on the social networks edit, delete, and hide content.

Download features on the social networks typically omit private messaging and responses from citizens.

You cannot rely on screenshots to fulfill a public records request.

Screenshots do not capture changes to the content over time (edited, deleted and hidden content).

They are not searchable, making it extremely difficult to find relevant records.

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You are most likely losing records on a daily basis!

Agencies can’t control how citizens modify content, leading to lost records for which agencies are responsible.

As a public entity, we are required by law to be able to reproduce that information if there is a public request for it, an open records request. That is not something we are capable of doing without having some type of system in place that actually can go out and get what they call the metadata.

April Warden
County Administrator
Seward County, Kansas

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