DC Council to consider bill on government use of messaging apps

The D.C. Council is expected to introduce emergency legislation Tuesday connected to the use of messaging apps for official communication by District of Columbia employees.

D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson says he is backing the bill following an Axios investigation that claims members of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s executive branch uses WhatsApp for communications.

“The reports, as you know,” Mendelson said, “are that there were members of the executive branch that were intentionally directing people to WhatsApp, and I consider that inappropriate.”

The problem, Mendelson says, is that WhatsApp has an auto-delete function.

“This bill will make it clear that these are public records that cannot be deleted, and that they will be treated like any other communication,” he said.

Mendelson added that the legislation would cover all D.C. employees, including members of the council. “We value open government, not auto-delete,” he said.

WTOP has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment.

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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