All Slack messages are potentially records, and are subject to FOIA. Therefore, assume everything you share/do in Slack will be made public, and attributed back to you. Treat Slack as a public forum — you have no privacy. Don’t say something on Slack that you wouldn’t feel comfortable appearing on the news. This includes:
- File uploads to Slack
- Any audio or video transmitted using a Slack Call
- Channel names
- Custom emoji
- Emoji reactions
Per the mandatory General Records Schedule 3.1 issued by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), everything in Slack channels and groups is considered at minimum a temporary record.
To ensure compliance with the possibility that we might create permanent or long-lived records in Slack, the records retention policy is set to retain all messages forever AND also retain edit and deletion logs for all messages. Users are prohibited from deleting messages. Do not abuse the
edit command in Slack to effectively delete your message by replacing it with null or symbolic content. Edits for clarity or typos are fine. If any bot or integration ever posts something inappropriate, please call for a clean-up in #admins-slack using
This policy applies to all types of Slack communications: public channels, private groups, even direct messages. Nothing is private. GSA IT uses an eDiscovery tool with Slack’s Discovery APIs to pull and filter data. There is no regular monitoring of these messages, but they have been reviewed in the past. Various legal actions (for example, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request) or security operations approved by the TTS Tech Portfolio Director have required others to view the exports.
Exporting channel contents
There is not an easy way to export the contents of a single channel, for partners or otherwise. If you really want, you can:
- Open the Slack channel in Chrome
- Take a screenshot
- Scroll up
These, of course, will be images, so they unfortunately won’t be searchable.