U.S. Digital Registry adds API access

U.S. Digital Registry adds API access

The General Services Administration is making it easier for developers to verify the social media accounts agencies use for outreach or digital service delivery with a new online registry.

The U.S. Digital Registry serves as the authoritative resource to confirm the official status of social media and public-facing collaboration accounts, mobile apps and mobile websites, according to GSA.

The new registry provides application program interface access to the government’s authenticated platforms, like Facebook, Twitter and GitHub, which will deter the use of fake accounts that could provide wrong information and potentially steal personal data, according to post on Medium by GSA's Justin Herman.

Now, agencies will use Office of Management and Budget’s MAX to authenticate registry users, who will add information on their official accounts -- including account name, agency, platform, URL, points of contact, mission-focused description, links to resources like comment policies or terms of services and collaborative tags.

The information gathered about these social media accounts is then made available via API so  anyone can collect and analyze the accounts across platforms or by tags. Developers are encouraged to use the API to continue verifying the thousands of official accounts and mobile applications, and to use the data to build innovative user-centered programs, tools and apps for citizens, according to DigitalGov.

Currently, agencies are in a “verification sprint,” to increase the number of accounts in the registry from 3,000 to more than 6,000 by the end of the month, and hundreds of government managers said they will authenticate their profiles and improve the data for each account by the end of March, according to the GSA’s SocialGov group.

Third-party platforms in agreement with or created under the federal-compatible terms of service are asked to use the registry to authenticate public service accounts. So far, more than 80 applications have amended terms of service for official government use, including Facebook, Flickr, Github, Google+, IdeaScale, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Scribd, Slideshare, Socrata, Storify, Tumblr, Twitter, Uservoice, Ustream and YouTube.

The new U.S. Digital Registry combines the former Federal Social Media registry and the Mobile Apps Registry; at this time, the API feeds into USAgov’s  Federal Mobile Apps Directory.

About the Author

Amanda Ziadeh is a former reporter/producer for GCN.

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