GAO warns of social media risks

Agencies are using Facebook and Twitter to get their message out, but their policies are not keeping up with their use, according to a report that the Government Accountability Office released July 28.

Agencies have not dealt with challenges that social media brings to managing and identifying records, protecting personal information, and ensuring the security of federal information and system, the report stated.

The 23 major agencies that GAO examined have made mixed progress in setting policies.

Twelve of the agencies have issued guidance outlining how to manage records by their use of social media, as well as recordkeeping duties.

Twelve of them updated privacy policies, and eight assessed risks to privacy and the likelihood of personal information going out unintentionally to the public through the new media.

Seven agencies have documented security risks, such as the potential for a hacker to launch attacks against the federal information system, and ways to alleviate controls associated with social media.

GAO recommended that agencies need to consider protecting themselves to avoid hacking and also keeping good records.

Although policies may not be needed in all cases, “social media technologies present unique challenges and risks,” GAO reported. Listen to a podcast from GAO.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • FCW PERSPECTIVES
    sensor network (agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

    Are agencies really ready for EIS?

    The telecom contract has the potential to reinvent IT infrastructure, but finding the bandwidth to take full advantage could prove difficult.

  • People
    Dave Powner, GAO

    Dave Powner audits the state of federal IT

    The GAO director of information technology issues is leaving government after 16 years. On his way out the door, Dave Powner details how far govtech has come in the past two decades and flags the most critical issues he sees facing federal IT leaders.

  • FCW Illustration.  Original Images: Shutterstock, Airbnb

    Should federal contracting be more like Airbnb?

    Steve Kelman believes a lighter touch and a bit more trust could transform today's compliance culture.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.