Social media enables users to collaborate, create, organize, edit, comment on, combine, and share information. This often results in the creation of content that are, in actuality, official business records and need to be captured, managed, classified, retained, and disposed of after their retention periods are complete.
Guess what? Electronic messaging - text, instant messaging - is related to social media as both are often used for collaboration.
In fact, the retention, or lack thereof, of social media and electronic messages has made the news during 2015.
- In September 2015, several of the largest Wall Street Banks agreed to retain all electronic communications sent through the Instant Messaging platform Symphony to and from each other for seven years. The banks reached this deal with regulators to alleviate concerns that information from these chatrooms would be deleted and prevent tracking of rigging schemes.
- In November 2015, a major online brokerage firm was fined $2.6 million for failing to retain a large amount of securities-related electronic records in the required format as well as failing to retain certain categories of outgoing emails. The online brokerage firm also did not have a reasonable supervisory system in place to achieve compliance with certain Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) books and records rules, which contributed to its failures in records retention.
Social Media Compliance Is Important
Social media governance is extremely important for Financial Services, and other regulated industries, as it is essential for a company to continue to operate. Records & Information Management is a key component of Compliance as it governs the business’ most valuable asset: information. The Compliance environment appears to only be getting tougher so it’s important to stay up to date on laws and regulations such as those from the SEC, FINRA, FTC, the Department of Labor Retirement Services, state insurance departments, 17 CFR 240-17a3 and 17a4 (the method for maintaining records), and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure - Rule 26 requires organizations to be able to produce all potentially responsive information for e-discovery purposes.
What is an Electronic Message?
An electronic message is a business record if its content, structure, and context confirm or support a business decision. This means that even a tweet can be a business record as long as it meets these qualifications since it is the content not the media type that drives the classification, retention, and disposition of records. Therefore failing to preserve social media is like failing to preserve records that are email or ESI. The legal precedence comes from cases such as Arteria Prop. Pty Ltd. v. Universal Funding V.T.O., Inc., where the judge ruled, “This court sees no reason to treat websites differently than other electronic files."
Once you determine whether or not information constitutes a business record according to your organization’s records & information management policy you can capture what is needed for retention on a regular basis. It’s important to keep classification and metadata in mind during capture so that you can find these records and know the duration of their retention period.
Archive Social Media Records
If your enterprise already has a digital archives service in place you should be able to archive simple social media records - blogs, YouTube file in open formats - following your Business As Usual processes for electronic archiving.However, with more complex social media records - such as Instant Messaging or Facebook - you may need a technology that can capture, classify, preserve, and manage retention for all types of social media.
There are many tools out there which extract social media and archive it for long-term preservation.
Some of these include ArchiveSocial, Backupify, Erado, Smarsh, PageFreezer, Gwava, and more. Be sure to do a full assessment to determine which solution is the best fit for your enterprise - and consult experts in social media governance to ensure all you are doing to protect your social media records truly pays off for your organization.