Your social media policy - what about records?

Did you know that when you use social media in the course of your business you are generating a Commonwealth record? This social media communication is a record of your agency's business activities.

Your agency should have a Social Media Policy covering matters such as security, privacy and copyright in the use of social media. It should also include advice on how to manage your social media records. A social media policy will highlight considerations for the managing business information created using social media platforms.

Social media policies and protocols

There are certain policies and protocols that you need to be aware of if you chose to use social media as a communication tool for your agency’s business activities.

As a government employee using social media, you must be aware of the advice provided by:

The level of detail that your agency includes about information and records management responsibilities will vary, but at a minimum it should include contact details for your agency's records management unit and refer to your agency's information management policy.

Social media policy - what to include

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 and records management responsibilities of content creators, web administrators, ICT staff, communications staff and records management staff
  • a statement highlighting the importance of taking ownership for content and assigning responsibility for managing records
  • clearly defined information and records management requirements and protocols for collaborative social media sites which are hosted by one or more agencies
  • information and records management practices for social media, such as how records will be captured and how often
  • contact details for the agency or department's records management unit and a link to the records management policy for more assistance and advice.

Remember to update your agency's information management policy to include the management of social media records. The content of the two policies must complement one another and be linked to ensure they are updated and maintained together.

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 the development of the social media policy.

A sample social media policy statement is included below.

Sample social media policy statement

Staff need to create and manage accurate records of their business activities to ensure decisions and actions can be accounted for. This includes social media activities.