President Trump, Tweets, and the Presidential Records Act
Published: February 15, 2017 by Anna Maloney
Former President Barack Obama was the first U.S. president to use social media, but just like the Oval Office, President Donald Trump and his administration has inherited control of the POTUS and White House accounts. In compliance with the Presidential Records Act, which requires White House records to be maintained by the White House staff and explicitly includes electronic communication, the National Archives has worked to preserve the Obama administration’s social media output, including Tweets, Facebook Live streams, and Snapchat stories. With President Trump’s more liberal use of social media, particularly his personal Twitter account, some have questioned whether his routine editing and deletion of Tweets (some inconsequential typos, some more questionable) violates the Presidential Records Act. While it is certainly too soon to make any firm judgments about whether Trump is being unfaithful to information laws, it is certainly an issue emerging (and established) recordkeepers will want to consider.