Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
North Dakota

North Dakota Open Records Law and Social Media

The North Dakota Open Records Law requires that agencies preserve records of all “recorded information of any kind, regardless of physical form or characteristic.” Therefore, social media content in North Dakota qualifies as a public record under the Law.

North Dakota Attorney General Guidance

In the North Dakota Open Records and Meetings Law guidelines, the State Attorney General emphasizes that “all government records and meetings must be open” unless there is a specific exception. The document clarifies that “all recorded information regardless of physical form” qualifies as a public record, with examples including e-mail and computer files. Therefore, social media records in North Dakota are also governed by the Law.

North Dakota Social Media Records Management in Practice

The City of Fargo encourages using social media for resident engagement and provides a Social Media Customer Use Policy. The policy allows for removing content that violates content guidelines but does not require records to be retained. Partial policies like this could expose governments to risks like Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and other headaches.


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