Your social media policy – what about records?

Posts and comments are records

Social media and instant messaging posts, media, comments, messages and analytics that are created or received as part of Australian Government business are Commonwealth records. To be accountable, your agency must also manage these types of records.

Once you have established your approach to managing social media and messaging records, you should include this information in your agency’s social media policy so staff are aware of their responsibilities. 

Setting policy is important

The use of social media and instant messaging platforms by your agency carries risks. A social media policy is an important tool to reduce risk by making staff aware of their responsibilities. 

Information management is just one consideration. Other advice to be aware of:

What to include in your policy

Ideally a social media policy will include:

  • a reminder that using social media for agency business activities is generating a Commonwealth record
  • a definition of a social media record. For example: 'social media records can be defined as information which contains evidence of your agency’s business activities'
  • the information management responsibilities of content creators, communications staff, web administrators and information technology professionals
  • a statement highlighting the importance of taking ownership for content and assigning responsibility for managing records
  • clearly defined information management requirements and protocols for collaborative social media sites which are hosted by one or more agencies
  • information management practices for social media, such as how records will be captured and how often
  • the need to document decisions to delete certain records because of inappropriate content or the inclusion on unsolicited personal information
  • guidance on closing or deactivating accounts, and the need to ensure content has been captured before an account is closed
  • accepted practices for the deletion of original records that have been captured in another endorsed business system
  • the role of your agency’s information management unit and a link to the information management policy for more assistance and advice.

Remember to update your agency's information management policy to include the management of social media records. Both policies must complement each other, and be maintained to ensure they are consistent in their requirements and obligations for staff.

When planning the content of your agency's social media policy, we recommend that you:

  • include information management guidance for social media
  • involve information management staff in developing the social media policy.

More information