Parks district buys software to aid in complying with public records requests

The district will be purchasing a subscription to ArchiveSocial, a real-time monitoring social media archiving software.

The South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District will be purchasing a subscription to a software company that will aid the district in complying with public records requests related to social media.

During a park board of commissioners meeting this week, Executive Director Doug Coutts recommended purchasing the subscription to ArchiveSocial, a company that provides real-time monitoring of social media websites and archives the information.

This includes comments made on Facebook pages. If someone on Facebook removes their comment, for example, the software is able to capture and save that comment.

Coutts said he had looked at similar companies offering this archiving service but ultimately decided that he favored ArchiveSocial because of its real-time monitoring aspect. Other companies will scan social media pages and archive the comments every 8-10 minutes, which Coutts said could result in some deleted comments slipping through the cracks during that time frame.

Although slightly more expensive than the other options available, Coutts said the extra money would be worth it to have the live monitoring.

The program would cost $2,988 annually for 12 active and discontinued social media accounts, which could include Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter. It is also the same social media monitoring software used by the South Whidbey School District.

“There are people out there that do public records requests as a way to fund themselves,” Coutts said. “They will put in a public records request and then if you can’t provide it in a timely fashion with all the information, they sue you for it and you’re liable for it. So we want to make sure that we’re able to comply.”

Members of the park board unanimously agreed on purchasing the software subscription.

“I think it’s a great idea, and I support the recommendation,” Commissioner Matt Simms said.

His fellow commissioner, Erik Jokinen, agreed that it would be “money well spent.”

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