Did Pennsylvania Facebook user Anthony Elonis do what many users of the social network do and share lyrics from a musical artist, hip-hop superstar Eminem, or was he threatening his ex-wife? The U.S. Supreme Court began arguing a case Monday that could have wide-ranging implications on the use of Facebook and other social networks.
Should prisoners be able to access Facebook and other social networks? South Carolina became the latest venue for this debate, as an inmate in the state created an online petition seeking to block a bill sponsored by state Rep. Wendell Gilliard (D- Charleston) that would prohibit inmates from having social media accounts or assisting other inmates in obtaining them, Charleston newspaper The Post and Courier reported.
The 2008 Protect Children from Sexual Predators Act in North Carolina, which prevented registered sex offenders from joining social networks including Facebook, was ruled unconstitutional by that state’s Court of Appeals.
As more and more middle school and high school students log onto Facebook, courts have had to reassess the definition of virtual free speech. Many younger members use Facebook to vent frustration, but when posts are aimed toward teachers and faculty members, where is the line drawn? A Minnesota court recently ruled in favor of a 12-year-old student who posted unfavorably about a school staff member on Facebook, citing that the school’s demand for her social media passwords violated First and Fourth Amendment rights.
Daniel Ray Carter, a sheriff’s office employee in Virginia, filed a lawsuit after he was fired for liking the Facebook page of his employer’s competitor, and he gained some key support in court. Facebook filed a motion in the United States Court of Appeals, saying that likes should be protected by the First Amendment.
A note to college students venting on Facebook: You can be punished for violent comments made on the website, even if the target is dead. That’s what the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled recently after the University of Minnesota punished a mortuary student for morbid comments about a cadaver.
Within hours, 24,343 people RSVPed as attending on an event page protesting Facebook deleting a photo of two men kissing.
Facebook pulled a larger version of the image you see to the left, from the page of the University of North Florida’s student newspaper, Spinnaker.
Facebook has removed a fan page dedicated to alleged police killer Jamie Hood, as the Georgia police are using the social network to ask the suspect to surrender.
Firing an employee over Facebook postings might violate First Amendment freedom of speech protection.