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Public Records Laws and Social Media Retention in
West Virginia

West Virginia Freedom of Information Act and Social Media

The West Virginia Freedom of Information Act was intentionally written to be “liberally construed” to protect residents’ rights to access public records. The Act determines that public records include all written content “regardless of physical form or characteristics.” This broad definition includes social media records in West Virginia.

State Attorney General Guidance on West Virginia FOIA

In a document providing guidance on the West Virginia Freedom of Information Act, the State Attorney General clarifies the intent and scope of the Act. The law was enacted to provide “full and complete information” to residents, covering “virtually all documents and information retained by a public body, regardless of their form.” Under this guidance, social media records in West Virginia can be considered public records.

West Virginia Social Media Records Management in Practice

The City of Morgantown established a set of comprehensive guidelines for the use of social media as a channel for communicating with residents. The policy states that social media content “may be considered a public record subject to public disclosure” and that all sites will “adhere to applicable federal, state, and local laws.” Under the City of Morgantown’s interpretation, social media records in West Virginia should be maintained as a public record.


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