Supreme Court Facebook Ruling

Supreme Court Facebook Ruling

The Ruling & What It Means for Kids

On June 1, 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in a case that involved threats made on social media.

Elonis, v. United States involved a Pennsylvania man who posted on social media that he wanted to slit the throat of his estranged wife and was convicted of a crime under a federal law making it illegal to transmit a threat in federal commerce. The defendant argued he did not intend to threaten anyone and was merely exercising his free speech rights on Facebook.  Ultimately, without addressing the question of free speech directly, the Supreme Court ruled that someone could not be convicted of a crime for posting online threats, even if a “reasonable person” regarded the posts as threats, unless there was proof that the writer him/herself actually intended the words as a threat.

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