Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act and Social Media
The Inspection of Public Records Act (IPRA) addresses social media records in New Mexico. IPRA ensures “that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employees.” The language of the Act is broadly applicable and future-proofed and applies to all public records, regardless of physical form or characteristics, including social media records in New Mexico.
Inspection of Public Records Act Text
Chapter 14, Article 2 NMSA 1978 may be cited as the “Inspection of Public Records Act”. 14-2-5.
Purpose of Act; Declaration of Public Policy.
Recognizing that a representative government is dependent upon an informed electorate, the intent of the legislature in enacting the Inspection of Public Records Act is to ensure, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officers and employees. It is the further intent of the legislature, and it is declared to be the public policy of this state, that to provide persons with such information is an essential function of a representative government and an integral part of the routine duties of public officers and employees.
14-2-6. Definitions. As used in the Inspection of Public Records Act:
A. “custodian” means any person responsible for the maintenance, care or keeping of a public body’s public records, regardless of whether the records are in that person’s actual physical custody and control;
G. “public records” means all documents, papers, letters, books, maps, tapes, photographs, recordings and other materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, that are used, created, received, maintained or held by or on behalf of any public body and relate to public business, whether or not the records are required by law to be created or maintained.
New Mexico Social Media Records Management in Practice
While social media records in New Mexico are covered under the Inspection of Public Records Act, few public agencies have taken the recommended step of adopting a social media policy to mitigate risk and comply with the law. The University of New Mexico, however, does offer one example of a policy that balances freedom of speech, privacy, and community standards while upholding social media records in New Mexico as public information.
UNM's Social Media Policy
UNM Social Media Guidelines (excerpt)
These guidelines are intended to be a minimum standard. Certain UNM entities, departments, programs, or groups may adopt additional guidelines for their users.
- It is important for all University of New Mexico entities, faculty, staff, and students to be aware of social media and how social technologies can help them share information, participate in important conversations, and collaborate on new ideas.
- It is up to each entity, as well as individual faculty and staff members, to choose whether to participate. However, to be included on UNM’s official directory of social media, a request must be submitted to University Communication and Marketing (UCAM).
- These guidelines and best practices are to ensure appropriate and effective use of social media. The guidelines will evolve as social media advances.
- All information posted on social media sites is considered public information.
- UNM social media sites are monitored periodically by various internal and external constituents.
- If you discover inappropriate behavior on a University of New Mexico-owned social media property, contact University Communication and Marketing at email@example.com.
Social Media Record Retention Legal News in New Mexico
Read about New Mexico cases and precedents involving social media and public record retention.
The City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, Was Fined $35K For Failing to Produce Social Media Records In Response to a Records Request
New Mexico and the former Mayor were found violating the Public Records Act and required to pay initial damages, estimated at $35K. The judge also noted that it appeared the Mayor’s page was being used for public business and therefore was considered a public record under IPRA.
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