As corporate use of social media platforms continue to expand companies that do not have good data retention polices, are at a high risk. It is imperative to have a good retention policy especially one which will facilitate adequate and enormous storing and archiving of social media activities.

In this article, we will discuss what is data retention, why do you need to review your internal policies and how MarketBeam can help with industry compliance audits.

What is Data Retention? 

According to Wikipedia, Data retention defines the policies of persistent data and records management for meeting legal and business data archival requirements.

Data retention, depending on the laws of a country, may or may not be legal. When discussing data retention there are two basic concepts involved they include; Data Retention and Data Arhiving.

Data Retention: Data archiving is simply moving data to a long term storage which is usually because the data is not actively used again. It is however very possible to access a data that has been archived if need be. This can occur very often during audits.

Data Deletion: On the other hand Data deletion is just the destruction of records or data. This makes the data irretrievable and unavailable for any future use.

The implications of data retention on social media marketing

Every industry has their own set of regulations and compliances to follow in accordance to government’s data retention policy. When companies don’t follow, they have to pay huge prices during audits. These policies differ from industry to industry, hence the importance of meeting these requirements. Policies such as the ones from FINRA, SEC, and FDA. 

FDA Social Media Compliance Policies

Food and drug companies are waiting for the FDA for a proper directive on how to go about their policies.

FDA social media guidance for pharmaceutical and biotech companies are even stricter. For instance, in November 2009, FDA held a Part 15 public hearing to gather comments and questions from stakeholders (e.g., industry, health care professionals, consumers, patient groups, Internet vendors, advertising agencies, and other interested parties) on how FDA can best provide guidance on the promotion of FDA-regulated medical products (including prescription drugs for humans and animals, prescription biologics, and medical devices) using the Internet and social media tools.

In sum, FDA requires 2 years of data retention for all purposes, however, they have not made it required for social media data yet. It may be coming soon since the social media policies are under review!

FINRA Social Media Compliance Policies

Social media is a new beast to manage, and has become one of the biggest marketing and corporate communications channel. So, social media data should also follow industry compliance and requirements. With SEC and FINRA adapting to increasing channels of communications, businesses need to reevaluate their own communications governance policies to avoid sanctions and heavy fines. 

The graph below shows that the collaborative and social technologies in today’s world are multi-dimensional, context-sensitive, and dynamic. Conversations could begin through instant messaging or social media, move to email, and then enter SMS text messaging – all these before being contextualized with emojis. 

Source: https://www.financialexecutives.org/FEI-Daily/September-2019/Keeping-Up-with-FINRA-SEC-Compliance-Trends.aspx

Many business enterprises have failed to recognize the legal implications associated with data retention regulations. Every company should endeavor to a policy for adequate preservation of social media activities. This will potentially forestall the harmful effects of unpredicted records request or going out of compliance. It may interest you to know that even a tweet should be considered as a potential business data. In case of litigation proceedings, most companies have a data retention policy that safeguards their web content. As companies try to back up their online activities, it is important for them to also backup their social media activities.

Social media content might be transient but it will be beneficial to give it the same considerations that are accorded traditional business communications. A lot of countries have enacted laws that mandate enterprises to provide digital records and storage which is required for any judicial situation. The only way to achieve this is by preserving the social media content of the company by a strong retention policy and use the tools that help retain data.

Online records have been pulled up in several occasions during court cases. This goes to lay more emphasis on the importance of preserving this data. This may be new for some industries but most industries that don’t already have a policy for data retention are on the verge of getting one. Different studies have it that government agencies are working tirelessly to develop a data management policy for social media. 

In sum, FINRA requires 2 years of social media data retention in an easily accessible location.

How MarketBeam helps comply with data retention policies

MarketBeam is designed to provide a secure, safe and compliant environment for all employees to share their employer’s content, build their own thought leadership and thrive in their careers.

See MarketBeam’s Security and Compliance Features

1. MarketBeam stores only limited personal data from employees like emails and their social media tokens only. This is compliant with GDPR.

2. MarketBeam stores a copy of all the social media posts made by the company on their corporate channels.

3. MarketBeam also stores the engagement on social media posts on various social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

4. MarketBeam stores all these data in an encrypted storage for 2 years.

5. When required by audits, MarketBeam can share corporate post data and also social media activities data we track and store.

6. After 2 years, the data will be deleted permanently.