OMB updates policy on government websites

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The Office of Management and Budget updated its policy on government websites Tuesday in a new memo requiring agencies to take some concrete actions with their websites and social media.

Among the requirements were mandates for agencies to migrate all of their official websites to .gov or .mil domains, register every government social media account and public facing digital service, and participate in the General Service Administration’s Digital Analytics Program. 

The memo replaces a 2004 document, M-05-04, Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites.

“The way we manage information technology, security, data governance and privacy has rapidly evolved since this guidance was last updated,” an OMB official said in an email to FedScoop. “The updates made today join the growing list of actions the administration has taken to keep federal agency websites and digital services’ standards at pace with the government’s increased adoption of new technology and innovations.”

The policy requires GSA to report how agencies are complying with the new memo and its Office of Governmentwide Policy to stand up within a month a new “Council of agency Web/Digital Directors” to better facilitate that.

With the publication of the new memo, agencies are required to participate in GSA’s Digital Analytics Program, which offers agencies free website analytics. The memo notes it isn’t precluding agencies from using other analytics programs, but it is requiring agencies to deploy the DAP’s tracking code on all of their public-facing agency websites.

The DAP includes a web analytics tool, training, an implementation report, guidance on digital metrics, and ongoing help-desk and data reporting support, according to its webpage.

Agencies are also required to move all of their official public-facing websites to a .gov or .mil domain within 180 days, unless an agency head decides a different domain is necessary, according to the memo. Those agency head-determined exceptions have to be emailed in.

And within 60 days, agencies have to register their “public-facing digital services such as social media, collaboration accounts, mobile apps and mobile websites” with the U.S. Digital Registry.

GSA recently released a new open portal to easily search and download information from the registry all in one place.

The single dashboard of 10,000 official U.S. federal government accounts and mobile apps allows people to search and export data on federal accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, GitHub, YouTube, Socrata and more by “agency, language, platform or tag.”

[Read more: GSA launches AI, virtual reality digital communities]

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Agencies, Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
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