Social media and the public records law

Whenever someone asks me a question about the public records law, I usually have an answer for them. I’m by no means an expert, but I’m geeky enough to know more than the average person.

I must admit though, one of the areas I know very little about is social media and how it relates to the public records law.  Apparently, I’m not alone.

Tina Trenkner wrote an amazingly detailed article on Governing.com called “Is Social Media a Friend or Foe of Government?” Here are some of the questions she poses to her readers:

  • Should government-posted content on a third-party Web site be considered public record?
  • Who owns the content, and does it need to be archived?
  • If advertisements show up on a government fan page, does it imply that the state, city or county is endorsing the advertised product?
  • And how should officials handle rude or libelous comments?

What are the correct answers to these questions? I’m not sure, but I think we’ll be talking about this more and more as city, county and state governments join the wide world of social media. In the meantime, I hope you’ll check out Tina’s well-written story.

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