Nevada's Public Records Act and Social Media

The Nevada Public Records Act mandates a liberal interpretation of its provisions to facilitate public access to records. While social media records are not explicitly referenced, electronic materials are not exempt, and the Act is intended to be broadly applied. Consequently, social media records in Nevada are subject to compliance with the law.

Nevada Law Text

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Excerpt from Nevada Public Records Act

NRS 239.001 Legislative findings and declaration. The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:

1.The purpose of this chapter is to foster democratic principles by providing members of the public with access to inspect and copy public books and records to the extent permitted by law;

2.The provisions of this chapter must be construed liberally to carry out this important purpose;

3.Any exemption, exception or balancing of interests which limits or restricts access to public books and records by members of the public must be construed narrowly; and

4.The use of private entities in the provision of public services must not deprive members of the public access to inspect and copy books and records relating to the provision of those services.

NRS 239.010

1.Except as otherwise declared by law to be confidential, all public books and public records of a governmental entity must be open at all times during office hours to inspection by any person

Nevada State Library, Archives & Public Records' Guidelines on Social Media Records

The State Library, Archives & Public Records in Nevada issues guidance on the Public Records Act for State agencies. The guidance emphasizes that all agency records, regardless of their physical form, are presumed open and accessible to the public. This document underscores that social media records in Nevada should be treated as public records.

Nevada State Library Guidance

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NRS 239.080 State records: Schedules for retention and disposition. 1. An official state record may be disposed of only in accordance with a schedule for retention and disposition which is approved by the Committee. 2. In cooperation with the Division4 3. The Division shall submit the schedules described in subsection 2 to the Committee for final approval. , each agency, board and commission shall develop a schedule for the retention and disposition of each type of official state record. 4. As used in this section, “official state record” includes, without limitation, any: (a) Papers, unpublished books, maps and photographs; (b) Information stored on magnetic tape or computer, laser or optical disc; (c) Materials which are capable of being read by a machine, including microforms and audio and visual materials; and (d) Materials which are made or received by a state agency and preserved by that agency or its successor as evidence of the organization, operation, policy or any other activity of that agency or because of the information contained in the material.

NAC 239.705 “Official record” “public record” or “record” means information created or received by an agency of the Executive Department or the Nevada System of Higher Education under authority of law, regulation or other legal mandate or in connection with the transaction of public business that is maintained by the agency or the Nevada System of Higher Education, or its legitimate successor, as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the agency or the Nevada System of Higher Education, including, without limitation, all papers, maps, photographs, financial statements, statistical tabulations, recorded media and other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics.

Managing Public Records

Agencies are responsible for making certain all of their records, regardless of format, are properly retained and remain accessible during their entire retention period. All records must be stored in a secure and stable environment that will protect them from alteration, damage and degradation.

Practical Implementation of Social Media Records Management in Nevada

The City of Reno Social Media Policy mandates compliance with the City's records retention policies for social media records. This approach serves as a useful example of how to manage social media records in Nevada.

City of Reno Social Media Policy

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Excerpt from the City of Reno Social Media Policy

E. Records Retention

  1. Content developers will keep electronic copies of all messages created for an distributed on social media by the City of Reno. Messages posted tot he City’s newsroom or news blog are archived automatically. Records shall be retained in conformance with the Records Retention Schedules, Policy No. 207.
  2. When possible, content developers should avoid creating new material on social media sites. Instead, use existing material from existing websites or previously published documents to ensure that other forms of the information are retained.
  3. When deleting comments or posts, staff should save a screen capture as a jpeg of the content and send it to a public information employee in Public Information for archiving.
  4. The City should retain copies of the legal terms and conditions required for creating a social media account.

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