GSA has developed a new web-based tool that will allow anyone to check and see if a social media site is actually officially managed by the U.S. government. The goal is to have a central site where the public can verify if an account is real and sanctioned. They’re calling it the Social Media Registry. Initially, the registry will support 22 social services including Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Flickr among others. Future updates are expected to expand on this list.
The registry will have 2 parts. The public facing site on USA.gov (or gobiernousa.gov for Spanish speakers) will allow you to paste in the URL of a social media account. You’ll then get a quick message letting you know whether the site has been registered or not. Over on Howto.gov there will be a site for federal agencies to register their official social media outlets which can include accounts from elected officials, heads of agencies and cabinet members. Anyone with a .gov or .mil email address and a valid phone number will be able to update or add a record in the registry.
The registry will provide a resource for teachers, libraries, members of the media and anyone else to be sure what they are sharing with people is an actual credible source. This will also benefit agencies by creating a central place for each to keep track of social media accounts.
For all you techies that are wondering, the site was built using Ruby on Rails and the source code will be available on github. An API is available with documentation to allow developers to create their own lookup tools and widgets.
I was lucky enough to have attended an overview presentation and demo of the registry presented by the project team and hosted by GSA’s DigitalGov University. Here are some screenshots of the test site that was presented.