Social Media Holds Pitfalls, Opportunities for Information Governance

Social media platforms have contributed to a transformed landscape, and as such, information governance policies need to address this, according to presenters in the closing session of the National Conference on Managing Electronic Records Wednesday.

Whether it’s in regards monitoring employees, or anticipating e-discovery requests, having clear, concise policies about social media use is a necessity to doing business, according to presenters in the session “Social Media: Its Challenges and Opportunities.”

Attorney Jonathan Redgrave, of Redgrave LLP, said social media is an area everyone is going to ask you about, so it’s easier if you have a clear policy outlining your expectations for your employees’ behaviors on each platform. He advised creating policies with simple, understandable guidelines. For example, guidelines as simple as “be nice,” or “don’t be rude,” which, while basic, help set a framework.

“Pick applications that are best for your business, decide who owns the account. Be consistent with brand guidelines, workflow, and content approval process. This is a great place for information managers to get involved,” Redgrave added.

While HIPAA and privacy laws dictate social media practices in healthcare, recent violations show social media is a force to be reckoned with for HIM professionals.

“Regulations and laws are evolving, and social media is no stranger to that. There’s a lot of concern about employees and potential employees using these platforms…When you go to court and they ask for your social media policy and you say ‘I don’t know,’ that’s never good,” Redgrave said.


Social Media Questions to Consider

Case law and legislation are constantly changing within social media policy, so it’s vital that information managers stay on top of past, present, and future developments.

Rakesh Madhava, founder and CEO of Nextpoint, offered some general considerations for information governance and social media:

  • Does your organization have a specific platform that allows you to set retention rules? Whether you do or don’t, that gives you something to act on.
  • Does the application apply rules to delete content after expiration of retention parameters?


Redgrave shared some additional considerations for social media as it relates to e-discovery:

  • There’s largely no reasonable expectation of privacy in what you’re posting on social media. Not a clear absolute rule.
  • Be aware that some general preservation tools may not preserve all metadata or utility of a social media site.
  • Record of the capture and export of data for chain of custody purposes
  • What process are you using to put things into a “record?” How would you demonstrate that proof?


Redgrave ended his social media presentation on an optimistic note.

“Dramatic change is yet to come. You have an opportunity to be involved and help shape regulations and best practices. These are exciting times for information governance—this is a fabulous time to be involved in this space.”


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