Management of Social Media Records in Alaska

The management of social media records in Alaska is subject to the Alaska Statutes Title 40: Public Records and Recorders. According to this law, records are defined as evidence related to an organization's policies, decisions, functions, operations, procedures, or other activities. This definition is not limited to physical form or characteristics, but rather to the informational value they contain. In essence, social media records in Alaska are determined by their content, rather than their medium.

View Alaska Law Text

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(6) “record” means any document, paper, book, letter, drawing, map, plat, photo, photographic file, motion picture film, microfilm, microphotograph, exhibit, magnetic or paper tape, punched card, electronic record, or other document of any other material, regardless of physical form or characteristic, developed or received under law or in connection with the transaction of official business and preserved or appropriate for preservation by an agency or a political subdivision, as evidence of the organization, function, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the state or political subdivision or because of the informational value in them.

Alaska Social Media Records Policy

Multiple towns, cities, and state agencies in Alaska have implemented policies to retain social media records in compliance with public records law. The City of Homer Alaska has published a detailed guide titled “Everything you and your department need to know to go social”, covering best practices for creating a government Facebook page and automated record retention to comply with the Alaska Public Records Act.

View City of Homer's Social Media Guidance

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8. City social media sites are subject to the State of Alaska Public Records Act (AS 40.25.100 – 40.25.295). As a result, any information posted on City social media sites, including but not limited to subscriber’s lists, posted communications, correspondence between posters and City staff, and communications submitted for posting, may be a public record subject to public disclosure.

9. Information posted on a City social media site is subject to management and retention in the same manner as other City records. The City Clerk shall cause information posted on a City social media site to be inventoried, stored and destroyed in the same manner and at the same time as if the information was maintained in written, printed or photographic form.

Social Media Posts Are Records In Alaska

The Municipality of Anchorage in Alaska has implemented a policy that considers social media posts as records governed by the Alaska Public Records Act. The policy emphasizes compliance with laws such as records retention, Municipal Public Records Act, First Amendment, and others when using social media.

View Anchorage's Social Media Policy

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e) Site Content

i) All content posted on department social media sites is considered public records subject to disclosure under Anchorage Municipal Code chapter 3.90. Public records requests related to a MOA social media site shall be handled by the department managing the site.

g) Records Management

i) Departments are responsible for the creation, administration, archiving, and deactivation of social media accounts.

ii) All content is to be fully accessible to any person requesting records from the social media site.

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