Appeals Court Rules Politicians Cannot Block Social Media Posts

Posted on 8 January, 2019 at 13:10

The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that politicians cannot block dissenters from commenting on their social media accounts. According to Reuters, a "federal appeals court said on Monday a Virginia politician violated the Constitution by temporarily blocking a critic from her Facebook page."

The appeal stems from a case in which a politician, Phyllis Randall, who is chair of a county board of supervisors, banned a critic from her Facebook page for twelve hours after he accused her and others on the board of corruption and conflicts of interest. The critic sued claiming his First Amendment right to freedom of speech was violated. Randall argued that her Facebook page was a private website and that when she deleted her post along with all the comments, including her critic's, she was well within her rights.

The federal appellate court found that Randall's Facebook page had an "interactive component" making it a public forum and when she deleted the post she violated the First Amendment.

Written by:   Alexandra Siskopoulos, Esq.

Telephone:   (646) 942-1798

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Categories: Appellate Attorney News