Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in

Maine Freedom of Access Act and Social Media

The Maine Freedom of Access Act governs resident access to public records in Maine. The Act includes any “written, printed or graphic matter” or “electronic data” in possession of a public agency as a public record. Therefore, social media records in Maine can be considered a public record under the Law.

Guidance from the Maine Right-to-Know Advisory Committee

The Maine Right-to-Know Advisory Committee is an advisory council created by the Maine FOAA. The Citizens Guide to the Freedom of Access Act emphasizes the importance of the public’s right to access government open records and the intentionally broad nature of the Act. The document clarifies that the FOAA includes “electronic data with information” used in relation to government business. Under this interpretation, social media records in Maine qualify as a public record.

Maine Social Media Records Management in Practice

The Town of Whitefield, Maine, has a comprehensive social media policy. The policy clearly states that social media content is governed by the Maine Freedom of Access Act as a public record and is subject to public disclosure. This policy serves as a model for managing social media records in Maine.

The State of Maine’s Office of Information Technology also offers a policy for using social media for state business. The policy states that social media contents are subject to the State’s Records Retention Law and Freedom of Access Act, and offers additional guidance on Maine government social media records.


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