Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
Florida “Sunshine Laws:” Public Records Requirements and Social Media Compliance
The Florida Public Records Law, or Government-in-the-Sunshine Law, requires that government agencies preserve public records regardless of physical form. This requirement includes the digital records created through social media. These Florida social media laws mean that public agencies must retain records from social networks.
See Florida public records law text
(12) ”Public records” means all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, tapes, photographs, films, sound recordings, data processing software, or other material, regardless of the physical form, characteristics, or means of transmission, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in connection with the transaction of official business by any agency.
Social Media Records Guidelines from the Office of the Attorney General
The Office of the Attorney General of Florida mentions Facebook in their Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual guidelines for computer records. It lays the responsibility for capturing and retaining social media records in Florida on the agencies that create them.
View the Attorney General's Guidelines
d. Social media postings The Attorney General’s Office has stated that the placement of material on a city’s Facebook page presumably would be in connection with the transaction of official business and thus subject to Ch. 119, F.S., although in any given instance, the determination would have to be made based upon the definition of “public record” contained in s. 119.11, F.S AGO 09-19. To the extent that the information on the city’s Facebook page constitutes a public record, the city is under an obligation to follow the public records retention schedules established by law.
Florida Social Media Records Management in Practice
The City of Tallahassee offers a great example of a comprehensive social media policy that clearly outlines the impact of Florida’s Sunshine Law on social media records.
View Tallahassee's Social Media Policy
- All Social Media sites must clearly indicate that all Posts are subject to public records laws.
- Ensure Social Media Account implementation and use complies with applicable mandates, including, but not limited to: Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, ISS Security Policy (Administrative Policy 809), Chapter 119 Florida Statutes, City Policies 140 and 146 (Records Retention and Public Records – Administrative Policy 206), and any other applicable Federal, State or City policy
HEAR FROM OUR CUSTOMERS
CivicPlus Social Media Archiving in Florida
Hear from one of the many cities, counties, and agencies meeting public record law requirements using the CivicPlus Social Media Archiving solution.
“We were interested in expanding our social media presence but didn’t feel comfortable doing that without a plan for records compliance. [CivicPlus] made it easy for us to fulfill our requirements.”
– Sabrina Robertson, Nassau County
“[CivicPlus’ Social Media Archiving software] is a very user-friendly and affordable solution for archiving social media accounts. On average, it saves us four hours per week of manual archiving time. Well worth the monthly fee.”
– Heather Shirm, Palm Beach County
“Public agencies need an easy-to-use, credible method of retaining social media posts. [CivicPlus’ Social Media Archiving software] has automated this otherwise burdensome task.”
– Ken J. Mascara, Sheriff, St. Lucie County
Social Media Record Retention Legal News in Florida
Read about Florida cases and precedents involving social media and public record retention.
Escambia County, FL, assessed $190,000 in legal fees after failing to produce records from the Commissioner’s Facebook accounts.
The Escambia County Commissioner was sued in federal court for failing to respond to two records requests for social media information from his Facebook accounts. The County settled and paid $7,700 to assist the commissioner in compiling Facebook messages and $190,000 in legal fees.
SOCIAL MEDIA ARCHIVING OVERVIEW
How Social Media Archiving Works
Download our solution overview to see how social media archiving helps you achieve public records compliance. Automatically retain every post, photo, comment, and more from your social pages for record retention.