Free Speech in Social Media


Free Speech in Social Media, How Free Is It?

Listen Up with Jim Potts

Free Speech in Social MediaSocial media is its own world when it comes to speech. Most people feel that social media is a place where speech has not limits. I’m sure most of us have seen, for example, on Facebook posts that makes us cringe. Twitters comments that create feelings of discomfort. Blog posts and remarks that trigger thoughts of “where is the line drawn for free speech in social media?” Is there a line? What about slander? Threats? Negative comments about your boss or fellow employees?

Freedom of Speech

Here is a Twitter post that some might remember from PR chief of Twitter about going to Africa, “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” I mean it’s just a joke right? ….. not! She was fired. What about this one, “I start my new job today but I absolutely hate working at daycares.” Fired also. Former Marine Sgt. Gary Stein posted a long rant on Facebook about everything upsetting him about our country ending it with “Screw Obama. I will not follow all orders from him.” After a dishonorable discharge, it seems he probably had to if he wanted to keep his job. Social Media is place where speech is free, isn’t it?

How Free is Freedom of Speech in Social Media

Yes, the The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of religion and freedom of expression from government interference. The most basic component of freedom of expression is the right of freedom of speech. The right to freedom of speech allows individuals to express themselves without interference or constraint by the government. But the First Amendment says nothing about private employers. There are some exceptions but getting fired for a social media post is typically not an infringement of First Amendment rights.

Post Freely all you want BUT Beware

Jon Hyman says it best, “By and large, American people are free to post whatever they want on social media. They’re free to be provocative. They’re free to offend, insult, and disparage others. They’re free to share videos and photos of themselves that may indicate poor character or lack of judgment. But, American people take heed: do not depend on the First Amendment to save you if you get fired because of a social media post.”

Listen Up

Let’s chat a little about this. So Listen Up with Jim Potts as I talk about free speech in social media because employers do have a say about this.

Join the Conversation!

YOUR TURN How do you feel about free speech in social media? Do you think or believe one should be able to express themselves no matter what it is on social media? Have you ever fired an employee for what he or she said or did on social media? What happen? We want to hear your stories and comments.

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