May 31, 2018
Hate Speech: Social Media and the Law
Social Media Speech
Freedom of Speech does not mean freedom to say anything. Social media has made it easier to communicate with everyone, from strangers to relatives to classmates, updating everyone about your adventures and opinions. The indirect nature of social media can make it easier to say what is on you mind but the law still applies to what you write. Threats and hate speech are at the top of the list for things that can get you in trouble with the law regarding what your put online.
Misused Social Media
College students to celebrities, there are several examples of people facing repercussions of using social media to post discriminatory things, hate speech and threatening messages.
When a threat seems viable, the police have reason to act. There have been cases of people threatening police officers or other individuals via a Facebook post or a tweet, followed by their arrest. Instances of racist and discriminatory statements by college students resulted in the loss of scholarships or being expelled. There are numerous examples of celebrities facing damaging backlash after posting discriminatory things. The workplace can also be affected by how companies and employees use social media.
As an employee, it is important to be careful with what you share online. There are laws and protections in place that protect an employee from stating an opinion, those protections are nulled if the content of a post or update is discriminatory or is seen as a threat to do harm. Hate speech could result in the termination of employment or an arrest.
There have also been instances of wrongful termination of employment because of activity on social media. It is best to contact an attorney if you feel that you are facing repercussions for a post on social media that was lawful.
Social Media Law
There are laws protecting users of social media but there are also laws protecting who, or what, users are posting about. Most often, criticism is lawful but threats are not. Contact an attorney if you have questions about social media law and your protections as a user, employer or employee.
If you or someone you know need legal assistance in Kansas or Missouri, contact us today at (816) 875-0470!