Share “Social media records pose archiving woes”

BY PAUL MONIES Published: March 16, 2010
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Meanwhile, the terms of service that private users agree to on social media sites such as Facebook or YouTube can spell trouble for state agencies, holding them liable for certain actions.

Twitter has less stringent terms of service, which is why there are more agencies using the microblogging platform than setting up YouTube or Facebook accounts.

Like most other states, the Oklahoma Constitution puts limits on what state agencies can agree to in contracts. The "limitation of liability” clause in the terms of service agreements for many social media platforms means it could be some time before the governor’s office uses YouTube or the state Health Department uses the presentation-sharing site Slideshare.

Doe, with the Office of State Finance, is coordinating the state’s renegotiations of those terms of service agreements.

He’s also working with the National Association of State Chief Information Officers on a similar effort nationwide.

‘Making progress on all fronts’
Doe said state groups are following the lead of the federal government when it comes to social media policy. But since state laws are so varied, it’s taking longer for states to negotiate the same types of changes with technology providers.

"We’re making progress on all fronts,” Doe said. "It may not be as fast as some people would like and some agencies would like, but when the federal government did this, it didn’t happen overnight either.”

Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, said several bills are pending before the Legislature that would complement what Doe is doing to open up social media platforms for state agency use.

"We need to clear some statutory hurdles that I think from a policy perspective they are working hard to try to get around on their own, but statutory authority would be very helpful for allowing the use of social media and technology products,” said Murphey, chairman of the House Government Modernization committee.

"It comes down to three issues: security, open records and liability. Oklahoma has some complicated limited liability interpretation which has historically prevented social media usage or discouraged it.”

Murphey said educating his fellow legislators has been a struggle. Some think Twitter and Facebook are just for kids or young adults and question why state agencies should be involved in the first place, he said.

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