GAO Says Agencies Need Social Media Best Practices, Security Policies

Lora Bentley
Slide Show

Social Media Policy Roundup

Twelve top social media policies and templates from the IT Business Edge IT Downloads library.

I've literally lost count of the number of times we've stressed the importance of social media use policies in your business. Use policies give you legs to stand on when employees misuse the newer technology platforms and put the company at risk as a result. They outline plans of action and allow you to know in advance how you will handle various situations.


As social media has become more accepted in the workplace, consultants and early adopters have offered their advice on what those policies should and should not include. And as much as government agencies are trying to get on board with the Obama administration's push toward transparency and openness, they have apparently been slow to adopt use policies or best practices for Facebook, Twitter and the like.


According to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office, barely half of the agencies surveyed have paid little attention to the security and privacy issues the social media technologies present - particularly where a government network is involved. Of even more concern to the National Archives and Records Administration, very few agencies have given employees guidance regarding when posts to social media sites should be preserved for the National Archives. quotes the GAO this way:

Without clear policies and procedures for properly identifying and managing social media records, potentially important records of government activity may not be appropriately preserved.

The National Archives acknowledged its own failure to provide guidance in this area, according to nextgov, and has agreed to "publish new guidance ... for when agencies are required to maintain social media posts." There is, as of yet, no indication when that guidance will be available.

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