St. Mary's Law Journal


Statutes governing preservation of presidential records must be adapted to accommodate presidents’ evolving use of social media accounts. The Freedom of Information Act is meant to promote government transparency, and subjects governmental agencies to information requests from members of the public. However, as it relates to social media records, the problem is one of volume; are the means of preservation currently in place able to adequately address the vast amount of records created by a President’s use of social media? This Comment argues that they are not, although they do provide a useful basis for how to adapt record preservation to our increasingly digital world. The Presidential Records Act must be updated to include provisions specifically addressing a President’s use of social media. The first challenge is developing a uniform standard for when cataloging a President’s social media activity for preservation as an official record is necessary, all while respecting presidential rights and privileges. Although not every minute act on social media by a President merits preservation as an official record, a balance must be obtained wherein the public is able to efficiently observe and review government actors’ activities online. Use of means such as shared drives, digitization of records, and data portals could enhance the efficiency of preserving, maintaining, and providing access to a presidential administration’s social media records.

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St. Mary's University School of Law


Katherine Spiser Rios