March 21, 2022, 0 Comments

5 Steps to Social Media Compliance

Links, videos, and interactive, interconnected experiences are at the heart of the web, including social media. While interconnection between sites is a crucial defining element of online communication, it’s also full of pitfalls for the unwary when it comes to archiving and preserving digital experiences.

Social Media Compliance

Here are a few key questions to answer and steps to take while auditing your existing archives or exploring potential technology providers — whether you want to establish an archive of your social media presence and behavior to comply with regulatory requirements, manage risks, or proactively record and preserve important data.

Make sure your archives are complete 

As social media continues to play a larger role in how businesses reach customers, conduct day-to-day communications, and advertise or promote their products and services, it’s important to have a complete record of your digital footprint. 

An archive is the evidence and data to support all of your marketing and customer service claims, and it’s imperative to have that evidence readily available and easily accessible. 

To fully capture and preserve the context of your digital experiences, you must include all of the metadata and data, as well as the functionality, of each site as they appeared in their live environment.

Provide context to archived data

Context is critical for comprehending any piece of data or information, and it is also important in litigation and compliance. For your archives to be complete, you must preserve the whole dynamic context of all interactions, and FINRA has special regulatory notices highlighting the relevance of context.

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Take Instagram as an example. You’ll notice a few unique elements in respect to collecting the context around data in this platform. Images are often shown as a carousel, which means a single post can have multiple layers of images and video, all of which are tied to one another.

You’ll also notice that after a post hits a certain level of engagement, the comments and activity on it get buried, only viewable when expanded upon.

The information and data contained in those “hidden” comments and likes, or layered within the video of your post itself, is extremely valuable and important for your due diligence and investigations, as well as regulatory compliance expectations.

To capture the full post, archived in its native format with all of the functionality and data preserved, it would take hundreds of screenshots. What’s more, navigating those screenshots would be missing the context that a person actually using Instagram would experience.

Ensure accessibility and searchability

To effectively manage your correspondence, you’ll require easily accessible and searchable archives. It’s critical to collect all of this information in the correct format and context, but you also need to be able to use it when you need it, without having to spend hours manually searching for it.

You miss out on data, metadata, and keywords that reside on and beneath the surface of every digital encounter when you merely capture a PDF or screenshot.

With social media archiving tools, you can navigate and search an archived site the same way you would a live social media platform. You can scroll through a feed, click on links, expand comments, and play videos.

Archiving solutions also allow you to search hundreds of archived pages for certain phrases or data to discover exactly what you’re looking for. With a fully searchable and easily navigable archive, the process of eDiscovery and regulatory oversight becomes seamless, helping you meet your compliance obligations in a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

Ensure that your data is tamper-proof

With the ever-increasing rate of technological change, the last thing you want is to go back to your archives a year or ten years from now and discover that you can’t access them!

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Your archives must be kept in a non-rewriteable format, sometimes known as write-once-read-many, or WORM, as required by SEC Rule 17a-4. This requirement assures that archives cannot be edited or altered after they have been captured, and it is a common stumbling block for regulatory compliance, as proven by repeated violations and fines.

Manipulation of the text or images in a PDF document is as simple as installing a free iPhone app, thanks to advances in the photo and document editing technology.

Maintain consistency

It’s important to be sure that you don’t lose important data due to changes in site structure, design, or functionality. 

A time investment upfront to strategize and understand the type of data you want to capture and how you want to present it will pay dividends later, as you won’t have to go back and re-capture data from the past.

For example, you set up a PDF or screenshot-based archiving system to capture your data on a daily basis, but one month later, a social media platform goes through a redesign.

Suddenly, the screenshots you took and saved as a PDF are missing important information or don’t look as nice as they once did, and no one noticed until it was too late, and you’ve been archiving and keeping an incomplete picture of your digital presence for months.


As a marketer, you’re responsible for your brand’s online image and reputation, and social media plays a huge role in that. 

While social media can be a boundless source of marketing inspiration, it can also be full of landmines. When it comes to regulatory compliance, ensure no stone is left unturned. 

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