The Supreme Court, Social Media and Free Speech. What You Should Know. | O'Keeffe O'Brien Lyson Attorneys

The Supreme Court, Social Media and Free Speech. What You Should Know.

Social media has become one of the largest influences in modern daily life. It is an excellent way to express yourself, to share thoughts and photos with family and friends, and to connect with other people. However, with this great tool comes a responsibility to use it wisely. With a recent Supreme Court case underway regarding social media posts, it is important to think before you tweet, post or Instagram.11235762823_3602174245_z

Supreme Court Considerations

The Supreme Court will need to consider whether social media posts pose true threats, specifically in the case of one woman and her estranged husband. After a judge issued a protective order against Tara Elonis’ estranged husband Anthony Elonis, he aired his grievances in a Facebook post which could be interpreted in a threatening manner. The case raises the question of the boundaries of free speech when it comes to social media. Is it simply “blowing off some steam” or is it a true threat?

Social Post Behavior – Better to be Safe than Sorry

In order to protect yourself and your freedom of speech when posting online, consider these things before you post:

  • Think twice before posting– Before you submit that profanity-laced rant to your Facebook page, think through your actions and potential repercussions from those actions. Remember, things posted online never truly go away and can come back to haunt you.
  • Use common sense and trust your instincts– If your instinct is telling you not to post a rant about your boss, an angry message about your ex, or any other potentially controversial messages, don’t post them. The repercussions of those actions can be severe and affect your employment and your personal life.
  • Turn up your privacy settings– Not everyone on social media needs to be reading your posts. Set your privacy settings so only the people you want to see your profiles are allowed to do so.
  • Remember social cues- Unlike the real world, posting on social media does not allow you to include your facial expressions, tone of voice, or other important communication factors that convey your mood and intent. Think about the different ways your message could be interpreted.

If you find yourself in the middle of a case where social media posts were used against you, be sure to contact an attorney you can trust from O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Foss Attorneys. Their legal knowledge and expertise will ensure you have a fair and just outcome in your unique case. Contact them today.

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