Blog article

On the (social media) record: the latest advice you need to know 

Do you manage social media for the Australian Public Service? If so, you need to comply with the latest advice from the National Archives of Australia.

Posts, tweets, messages – social media is a chasm of commentary. Especially in Australia. In fact, we’re some of the most active ‘commenters’ in the world. And if you manage social media in the Australian Public Service, it’s essential you capture these interactions. Why? Because they are official government records.

The National Archives of Australia (NAA) recently updated their advice on how to correctly manage and maintain social records. Here’s what you need to know to remain compliant.

Do I need to capture all social media activity?

In short, yes! Social media is a public record. So any content created or received by a government organisation is subject to legislation. The NAA provides guidance on how to apply the legislation to social media record keeping.

What does this mean for your organisation?

You need to be accountable and transparent. Whether it’s a tweet on Twitter, a comment on a Facebook post, or a message through Messenger, all social activity must be recorded.

While all government organisations need to comply with NAA guidance, legislative requirements vary between states and territories. Know your obligations – use our interactive map to see the requirements in your state.

What is the latest advice from the National Archives of Australia?

The NAA’s updated guidance provides more clarity around social media record keeping.

Here are three key insights:

  1. How to manage risks
    Cybersecurity, personal privacy and intellectual property rights are all important considerations for managing social media. A lot of personal information is shared online. For example, a customer may provide their home address so you can resolve an issue. This is why social records need to be safely archived. A robust platform, such as Brolly, can do this for you. Our secure system can make your business compliant within minutes. Not a customer yet? Access your free 30-day trial here.
  2. Why you need a social media policy
    If you manage social media for your organisation, you probably know what’s expected. But what about your colleagues? Having a social media policy detailing how social content is created, used and captured helps ensure staff are aware of their responsibilities – and the organisation remains compliant. It serves as a reminder that when staff use social media, they may be creating an official government record. By defining what is appropriate, a social media policy helps protect your organisation’s reputation.
  3. What to keep and delete
    Do you know what records you need to keep, and for how long? There isn’t a blanket rule.
    The NAA advises that you should retain records in line with relevant records authorities. The retention period for any record depends on the content purpose, rather than the format.
    This means content across any of the following digital formats must be recorded:

    • Streaming (YouTube, Vimeo)
    • Social networking (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yammer)
    • Blogs
    • Instant messaging (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, Signal)
    • Geospatial tagging (Google Maps)
    • Videocasts and podcasts
    • Wikis and more
  4. So what can be deleted?
    “You can delete records with little or no business value”, explains the NAA, “as long as it’s allowed by your agency’s normal administrative practice (NAP)”. This means you could delete duplicates where the original version is already stored in a records management system (like Brolly!)

Want to know more? Check out the NAA’s full list of social media record-keeping requirements.

Social media, and the ways people use it, are constantly changing. So it’s important you keep accurate records of your social media activity and use a robust archiving tool to help you remain compliant.

Need help with record keeping? Get in touch with our team today.