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Legal Issues Surrounding
the Web & Social Media
Policies & the First Amendment
Carol A Spencer
Digital & Social Media Mana...
• Social Media as Evidence
• Social Media and Free Speech
• Social Media Policies
• Management
• Public
• Employees
• Samp...
The volume of cases reported to Westlaw where social media
evidence played a role has about doubled year over year.
• Inte...
• United States v. Meregildo (“The Defendant’s legitimate expectation of
privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘...
• Liking a Facebook Page is Free Speech
(Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals)
• http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/09/a...
“Public Forum” or “Government Communication”?
• Honolulu Police Department case
• Involved deleting a FB post from a gover...
• Management
• Who can set up channels and who can post
• Who has authority to authorize deleting posts or pages
• Comment...
• Montclair NJ
• http://www.montclairnjusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view
=article&id=4052:montclair-township-socia...
Website NAGW.org
Twitter Twitter.com/NAGW
Facebook Facebook.com/NAGW.org
GovLoop Govloop.com/group/NAGW
Email FinanceDirec...
Morris County Social Media Management Policy
Legal Issues Surrounding
the Web & Social Media
Policies & the First Amendment
Carol A Spencer
Digital & Social Media Mana...
2014: NJ GMIS: Legal Issues Surrounding the Web and Social Media
2014: NJ GMIS: Legal Issues Surrounding the Web and Social Media
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2014: NJ GMIS: Legal Issues Surrounding the Web and Social Media

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This presentation, one of three parts for a NJ GMIS session, focuses on social media policies and first amendment issues. It discusses recent court rulings and NLRB rulings that give guidance to dealing with employee postings.

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Transcript of "2014: NJ GMIS: Legal Issues Surrounding the Web and Social Media"

  1. 1. Legal Issues Surrounding the Web & Social Media Policies & the First Amendment Carol A Spencer Digital & Social Media Manager County of Morris, NJ NJ GMIS March 27, 2014
  2. 2. • Social Media as Evidence • Social Media and Free Speech • Social Media Policies • Management • Public • Employees • Sample Policies You Can Use • Morris County Social Media Policy, Commenting • Montclair • Social Media Policy Database • NAGW Resource Library Issues to Consider with Social Media
  3. 3. The volume of cases reported to Westlaw where social media evidence played a role has about doubled year over year. • Interesting Cases involving government • Shepherd v. McGee (U.S. Dist. Ct., Oregon, Nov. 7, 2013), 2013 WL 5963076 (Employee fired for FB postings was upheld) • Bosh v. Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority (U.S. Dist. Ct., Oklahoma, Nov. 22, 2013) 2013 WL 6150799 (Sought to get access to a full Facebook account versus certain postings. Ruling allowed only certain postings) • Fox v. Transam Leasing, Inc. US District Court, Kansas. Sept. 18, 2013) 2013 WL 5276111. (Sought the production of current archives of the Facebook and Twitter accounts of the Plaintiffs. Court ruled they had to be produced.) Social Media as Evidence Sources: http://blog.x1discovery.com/2013/12/10/social-media-case-law-update-november-2013/ and http://jolt.richmond.edu/index.php/social-media-evidence-in-government-investigations-and-criminal- proceedings-a-frontier-of-new-legal-issues/
  4. 4. • United States v. Meregildo (“The Defendant’s legitimate expectation of privacy ended when he disseminated posts to his ‘friends’ because those ‘friends’ were free to use the information however they wanted—including sharing it with the Government.”) • “Under Brady v. Maryland or Giglio v. United States, one may obtain a law enforcement officer’s social media account records” • “Courts may order jurors, witnesses, or third parties to produce or manipulate their social media information in unique and unprecedented ways.” • “Social media evidence is undeniably a critical new frontier of government investigations and criminal proceedings.” Social Media as Evidence Sources: http://blog.x1discovery.com/2013/12/10/social-media-case-law-update-november-2013/ and http://jolt.richmond.edu/index.php/social-media-evidence-in-government-investigations-and-criminal- proceedings-a-frontier-of-new-legal-issues/
  5. 5. • Liking a Facebook Page is Free Speech (Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals) • http://blog.ericgoldman.org/archives/2013/09/appeals_court_s.htm • Social Media, Public Employees and the First Amendment (New York Law Journal) • http://www.nyclu.org/oped/column-social-media-public-employees- and-first-amendment-new-york-law-journal • Top Ten Internet Law Developments of 2013 (Forbes, Jan 9, 2014) • #5: Government Employees & Social Media Mishaps • http://www.forbes.com/sites/ericgoldman/2014/01/09/top-ten- internet-law-developments-of-2013/ Social Media and Free Speech
  6. 6. “Public Forum” or “Government Communication”? • Honolulu Police Department case • Involved deleting a FB post from a government agency FB page • “Public Forum”: First Amendment may apply • “Government Communication”: Agency has a right to censor • Case settled on January 21, 2014. • No decision regarding public forum or government communication issue • City and County of Honolulu were ordered to reimburse all legal expenses of the plaintiffs. ($64,690.29) • http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/index.html?id=1936762 To Delete or Not to Delete: That is the Question Sources: http://archivesocial.com/blog/trouble-in-paradise-honolulus-case-for-archiving-records
  7. 7. • Management • Who can set up channels and who can post • Who has authority to authorize deleting posts or pages • Commenting • Make it clear your social media channels are not public forums. • Public forums can give citizens the right to say anything with limited exceptions • Employee Use • Not likely to be protected as First Amendment speech • Refining the First Amendment status of social media activity by government employees • Social Channel Terms of Use • Modifications for state and local gov’t (NASCIO.org; FB and YouTube) Policies: Have Them ∙ Post Them ∙ Follow Them
  8. 8. • Montclair NJ • http://www.montclairnjusa.org/index.php?option=com_content&view =article&id=4052:montclair-township-social-media- policy&catid=311:news-articles&Itemid=741 • Morris County NJ • Facebook Commenting • https://www.facebook.com/MCUrgent/app_190322544333196 • Facebook Management • See slides at end of presentation • Massachusetts • Social Media Toolkit – Legal Guidance • http://www.mass.gov/anf/research-and-tech/policies-legal-and- technical-guidance/web-guidance-and-best-pract/social-media- guidance-and-best-pract/legal-guidance-toolkit.html • Social Media Policy Database • http://socialmediagovernance.com/policies/ Social Media Policies
  9. 9. Website NAGW.org Twitter Twitter.com/NAGW Facebook Facebook.com/NAGW.org GovLoop Govloop.com/group/NAGW Email FinanceDirector@NAGW.org Website MorrisCountyNJ.gov Twitter Twitter.com/MorrisCountyNJ Facebook Facebook.com/MorrisCountyNJ YouTube YouTube.com/MorrisCountyNJ Flickr Flickr.com/MorrisCountyNJ Email CSpencer@co.morris.nj.us National Association of Government Web Professionals Morris County NJ
  10. 10. Morris County Social Media Management Policy
  11. 11. Legal Issues Surrounding the Web & Social Media Policies & the First Amendment Carol A Spencer Digital & Social Media Manager County of Morris, NJ NJ GMIS March 27, 2014
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