Oakland, Calif., Launches Transparent, Interactive Social Media Archive

The city's effort will make sure all social media is publicly available and easily accessible for citizens.

by / June 16, 2015

Editor's note: The parent company of Government Technology is an investor in ArchiveSocial through e.Republic Ventures.

Transparency in government is continuing to expand, as witnessed by the fact that the city of Oakland, Calif., has committed to opening its social media archives to citizens within the next few months.

According to a press release, officials have partnered with the Code for America startup ArchiveSocial to unlock thousands of social media records for public review. The transparency initiative places the city at the forefront in social media accountability, and makes Oakland the first city in California to offer such access.

Other jurisdictions to use the platform include the Florida counties of Palm Beach, Nassau and St. Lucie, and ArchiveSocial also has launched in the state of North Carolina and various jurisdictions in South Carolina.

Oakland will report a full listing of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube communications from city departments and programs. The project also includes assisting the city in managing its own social media records and complying with the Freedom of Information Act that, with a few exemptions, mandates all government records be made available to the public, digital or otherwise. Former city CIO Bryan Sastokas, who was a driving force behind
Oakland's commitment to archiving social media records, said the undertaking is built on a continued push by the city to ensure transparency was systematized.

In 2013, the city partnered with Code for America to create RecordTrac, an app that manages and monitors public records requests for citizens — the app has since been turned into an enhanced platform called NextRequest.

“Providing transparency and access to data are critical needs of our community,” Sastokas said.  “I believe that for cities to experience the transformational benefits of open data, they need to leverage technology to get data into the hands of the people.”