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Anniston, Alabama To Censor Employees' Facebook Pages 338

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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  • Re:1st A... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:13PM (#35096934)

    No, it isn't reasonable at all, not when you're a division of the government. The first amendment exists so that individuals can speak out against government acts with impunity - you can't be held accountable for speaking out against the government. By instituting this rule, they're essentially saying that the first amendment doesn't apply. Legally speaking, they have no right to do it, and morally speaking, it's abject in every sense of the word.

    Your employer has no right to censor your speech - period. Even less so when that employer is part of the government who's supposed to be upholding that right in the first place. Conflict of interest.

  • Re:1st A... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by deapbluesea ( 1842210 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:14PM (#35096966)

    There's a major difference between a private employer and a government employer in terms of speech. IANAL, but this guy is:

    The First Amendment applies only to government employers, not to private employers. Government employers are prohibited from terminating employees as a result of their speech on matters of public concern, in most circumstances. However, if the employer can show that it was necessary to terminate the employee to preserve some legitimate employer interest, the termination may be upheld. Speech relating to matters that do not fall within the definition of 'public concern' may be used as a basis to terminate employees, even if the speech occurs on the employee's free time.

    As in all things, it's not as simple as /.ers think it is.

  • Re:1st A... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Lord Ender ( 156273 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:18PM (#35097054) Homepage

    The slashdot solution to challenges to liberty: become a homeless, jobless bum.

  • by anyGould ( 1295481 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @06:35PM (#35097376)

    .. they'll never actually fire someone for badmouthing the city - they'll just terminate your employment.

    I'll never understand why people thought giving companies the ability to fire for "no" reason was a good thing - all it does is let them fire you for *any* reason (legal or not)

  • by Lord_of_the_nerf ( 895604 ) on Thursday February 03, 2011 @07:39PM (#35098188)

    It was slightly farcical. We argued that it was nothing defamatory and fair commentary. The next day, the entire department posted 'Company X's Media Policy is a joke' as their status.

    Of course, if they tried to monitor Slashdot comments, the entire IT department where I work is going to be looking for a job on Monday.

  • by dgun ( 1056422 ) on Friday February 04, 2011 @10:19AM (#35103010) Homepage

    I live just outside of Anniston. The local paper. the Anniston Star, runs stories on the city council several times a week. It's awesome entertainment, Believe me when I say that the Anniston city council is a complete joke. One of the council members stated that the reason they want to trample on the first amendment rights of their employees (and understand that this is just not about posting on Facebook at work) is that comments made on Facebook could embarrass the city. Which is completely ridiculous considering the City council has been the #1 source of embarrassment for the city for a couple of years now. The last couple of months they have been conducting an "inquiry" at tremendous expense, apparently on the general subject of "bad stuff" that's going on at the city, But it's really about the ego of one council member who was not happy at the results of an investigation conducted by the police department and who was also attempting to punish a police officer who criticised the council member on Facebook, as well as take revenge on a judge who ruled against him.

    The mayor and the various council members fight and argue like school children continuously. One of the council members files multiple law suits based on idiotic grounds. In their "inquiry" they have issued subpoena after subpoena, many of which are quashed because they're so damn ridiculous. This latest issues regarding Facebook is just one in a long list of laughable shenanigans perpetrated by the council. Honestly, a reality show based on these people would be awesome and would be the one reality show I would watch. You wouldn't even have to edit anything, just broadcast the council meetings live on Comedy Central. The truth is far more hilarious and amusing than any group of video editors could conjure,

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