Under the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act (SC FOIA), public records encompass all written materials generated by public entities, regardless of their physical format. This includes social media records.
“Public record” includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body.
“Public body” means any department of the State, a majority of directors or their representatives of departments within the executive branch of state government as outlined in Section 1-30-10, any state board, commission, agency, and authority, any public or governmental body or political subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships, school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization, corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, including committees, subcommittees, advisory committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known, and includes any quasi-governmental body of the State and its political subdivisions, including, without limitation, bodies such as the South Carolina Public Service Authority and the South Carolina State Ports Authority.
The South Carolina Department of Archives and History provides recommendations on the retention of electronic records, which also includes information regarding the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act. This useful resource offers clear and easily comprehensible insights into the purpose and implementation of this legislation.
Visit this link to see South Carolina social media records.
Excerpts and highlights:
Page 2 – “Why do I need to organize my electronic records?”
“It is the law. SC FOIA defines a public record and states ‘includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards, tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or retained by a public body’.”
Page 11 – Records that are ‘born digital’ require the same organization and retention as physical records or records that were ‘born physical’ and then digitized.
Page 15 – Social media is viewed in the same light as email. Facebook and Twitter are platforms, not records management areas. If public records are produced on those platforms, they will have retention requirements.
Page 21 – “What retention schedule best describes agency social media accounts?”
The City of Greenville makes it clear on their Facebook page that comments may be removed for reasons specified in their policy. While not explicitly mentioned in the policy, it is recommended to retain records of deleted posts to safeguard the city from potential claims of First Amendment violations that may arise from the removal of comments.
We welcome your comments on the City of Greenville’s Facebook Pages, Twitter account and other social media outlets.
The purpose of these sites is to present matters of public interest in Greenville to our many residents, businesses and visitors. Here you’ll find the latest City news, including City-related special events, programs and services. We encourage you to submit your questions, comments, and concerns, but please note this is a moderated online discussion site and not a public forum.
Once posted, the City reserves the right to delete submissions that contain vulgar language, personal attacks, or disparaging comments of any kind, or offensive comments that target or disparage any ethnic, racial, or religious group. Further, the City also reserves the right to delete comments that are:
Please note that the comments expressed on this site do not reflect the opinions and position of the Greenville city government or its council members and employees. If you have any questions concerning the operation of this online moderated discussion site, please contact the Public Information and Events Department at email@example.com.