Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act and Social Media

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires public agencies to preserve and maintain public records. Under Arkansas FOIA, public records include “writings, recorded sounds, films, tapes, or data compilations in any form,” including electronic content like social media. Therefore, social media records in Arkansas can be considered public records.

State Attorney General Guidance on Arkansas Freedom of Information Act

The Arkansas Freedom of Information Handbook was developed by the State Attorney General and co-sponsors to “communicate the importance of open government” to residents. Regarding what constitutes a public record, the document clarifies the broad definition to include “both records created by an agency and those received from third parties” within the scope of public office activities, where the physical form is “unimportant.” Under this interpretation, social media records in Arkansas do qualify as public information.

Arkansas Social Media Records Management in Practice

The City of Bentonville, Arkansas, has a clear policy recognizing social media content as a public record posted on the City’s Facebook page. The policy allows all comments and posts to be public records “subject to the Arkansas Freedom of Information Act.” This policy provides a strong example of managing social media records in Arkansas for public records law compliance.

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