Recent Breaches and Guidelines Highlight the Need for a Social Media Records Management Tool
When the Office of Independent Assessor (OIA) began operations in December 2018, it immediately had approximately 60 complaints relating to councillor conduct to investigate in Queensland. As of April 2019, that number has significantly increased to 624 complaints, 38 of which were related to social media use, with allegations of inappropriate comments, deletion of valid feedback or comments, and the release of confidential information via social platforms, says Independent Assessor, Kathleen Florian. A prime example of this being Fraser Coast Councillor, James Hansen, who was found to have engaged in misconduct after posting and deleting racist and inappropriate comments on social media in October 2018.
This trend of incidents has prompted the OIA to develop and release new social media guidelines for council members in Queensland, a first of its kind in Australia. The guidelines emphasize that social media posts are public records and as such, are required to be recorded.
“Inappropriate social media use is an issue that we’ve identified as a trend in the early days of the OIA. We’ve developed these guidelines with the LGAQ to help councilors navigate this area and comply with the code of conduct, but also to help them deal with unfair and abusive public commentary which social media can sometimes generate,” Independent Assessor Kathleen Florian says.
Ms Florian says the situation isn’t unique to local councils and social media poses challenges for all levels of government. “Social media has its benefits but it also has its downfalls and it can sometimes bring out not the best in people,” she said.
Local Government Minister, Stirling Hinchcliffe, said the guidelines are an important new resource that outline the difference between a councillor’s official, election and private pages, how the Councillor Code of Conduct applies, moderation of comments, and how to recognise and capture posts which are public records.
These incidents and new guidelines again reinforce the need for a social media records management tool at all levels of government, especially as compliant manual recordkeeping isn’t feasible, and in instances where posts/records are deleted, it often leaves a compliance gap. We discuss the challenges of social media recordkeeping here, along with how Brolly solves this issue.
Luke is an experienced Marketing Manager and host of the Information Transformation Podcast. He has a keen interest in developing engaging content to inform people about the changing landscape of the information management industry.
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