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Censorship Facebook Government Social Networks Your Rights Online

Anniston, Alabama To Censor Employees' Facebook Pages 338

Posted by timothy
from the article-summary dept.
ISurfTooMuch writes "If you're a city employee in Anniston, AL, you'd better watch what you say on Facebook. Under a proposal being considered by the City Council, employees would be banned from posting anything 'negative' or 'embarrassing' about the city. Note that they aren't talking about official city pages here, but employees' personal pages. Anyone care to educate these clowns on the existence of the First Amendment?"
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Anniston, Alabama To Censor Employees' Facebook Pages

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  • by ZipK (1051658) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:11PM (#35096896)
    This is far from a settled issue; there's a lot of complicated case law [] wending its way through the courts.
  • Re:1st A... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Port1080 (515567) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:14PM (#35096960) Homepage
    Actually, government employees do have more rights [] when it comes to speech (due to the 1st amendment) than private employees do. They can't just say any old thing, but if their criticism of their employer or the town is found by the court to be "of public concern" it could be considered protected speech. This law actually probably is unconstitutional, particularly if it's very broad (it could be written in a way that only banned non-protected speech, but my guess is they didn't think it through that well).
  • Consequences (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bobfrankly1 (1043848) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:31PM (#35097284)

    Anyone care to educate these clowns on the existence of the First Amendment?

    First Amendment allows you can say whatever you like, with few exceptions. It does not, however, protect you from being responsible for the consequences of what you said. If you are badmouthing your employer on a publicly visible page with your name attached, you are committing career suicide, regardless of your employer. They can either get rid of you, or make it miserable for you to maintain your employment. If you must vent, do it offline, or privatize your page and be sure you don't have co-workers as "friends". That's being responsible, and shielding yourself from these consequences so many forget about.

  • Re:Consequences (Score:5, Informative)

    by Port1080 (515567) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:37PM (#35097390) Homepage

    If you are a government employee, the 1st amendment actually does [] protect you to some degree. Your advice is absolutely correct if you're privately employed, but government employees have more protections when it comes to issues like this.

To err is human -- to blame it on a computer is even more so.