The Texas Public Information Act (PIA) was amended through Senate Bill 944, which outlines guidelines for complying with Texas public records laws and promoting government transparency. These guidelines include specific measures for recording and archiving social media communication.
An act relating to the public information law.
In 2013, the Texas Public Information Act was updated with Senate Bill 1368 to explicitly encompass internet posts and other electronic communications, thus bringing social media content under the purview of Texas public records laws.
(c)The general forms in which the media containing public information exist include a book, paper, letter, document,e-mail, internet posting, text message, instant message, other electronic communication, printout, photograph, film, tape, microfiche, microfilm, photostat, sound recording, map, and drawing and a voice, data, or video representation held in computer memory.
The Social Media Resource Guide by the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) provides clear guidance on how to manage social media records in compliance with Texas retention requirements. It also provides useful strategies for public agencies to begin using social media.
4. Records Retention
Content posted by the agency or the public on an agency’s social media website is a state record (Government Code, Section 441.180(11)), and is subject to State Records Retention requirements in Government Code Chapter 441, Subchapter L, 441.180-205.
To manage compliance, agencies may consider common exceptions to State Records Retention Requirements in developing social media content strategy.
The City of Dallas serves as an example of effective social media records management in Texas, as their comprehensive social media policy recognizes that social media posts are subject to public disclosure laws. Additionally, the City of Austin has established the first fully accessible Open Archive in the country, demonstrating their commitment to transparency and public access to information.
5.2 The PIO or designee will:
Manage Open Records Requests in cooperation with all departments to ensure that responses to such requests include any responsive Content on City Social Media sites