Minnesota Public Records & Social Media Law

Minnesota's Government Data Practices Act applies to social media records, as defined by any information in any form that is collected, created, received, maintained, or disseminated by government. This means that social media posts made by government entities and public comments fall under Minnesota public records laws, which presume that state and local government records are accessible to the public.

View Data Practices Act overview 

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Data and Entities Covered by the Act

The act applies to information in any form held by certain government agencies.

Data Covered

All information in any form (written, computerized, on recording tape, microfilm, etc.) collected, created, received, maintained, or disseminated by government (Minn. Stat. § 13.02, subd. 7)

Entities Covered State agencies

  • The University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
  • Political subdivisions
  • Statewide systems (record-keeping systems used in common by multiple state agencies and/or political subdivisions)
  • Corporations and nonprofit social service agencies under contract with a government entity (Minn. Stat. §§ 13.02, subd. 7; 13.05, subd. 6)

Entities Excluded

  • Judicial branch data classifications and access are governed by the rules of public access to records of the judicial branch, adopted by the Minnesota Supreme Court (Minn. Stat. § 13.90)
  • For purposes of this act, townships located outside of the seven-county metro area are not included in the definition of “political subdivision” (Minn. Stat. § 13.02, subd. 11)
  • The legislature as a whole is not subject to the act, but individual legislators are subject to certain provisions governing elected officials and candidates for elected office

Examples of Minnesota Social Media Records Management Policies in Practice

Several cities and counties in Minnesota have implemented policies that explicitly recognize social media records as subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. Below are some examples of such policies:

Carver County's social media policy includes a "Privacy Policy" section that notifies social media users that their comments are subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.

View Carver policy

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Please note that Carver County does not share information gathered through its social media sites with third parties for promotional purposes. However, any information you provide to the County is subject to the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act. This law classifies certain information as available to the public on request.

Chisago County Requirements for Retaining Social Media Records

Chisago County has a clear policy that outlines the requirements for retaining social media records under Minnesota public records laws.

View Chisago policy 

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H. Chisago County’s social media sites are subject to State of Minnesota public records laws. Any content maintained in a social media format that is related to County business, including a list of subscribers and posted communication, is a public record and subject to a data retention schedule.

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