County Official Facebook Ban of Citizen Ruled Unconstitutional

A county official in Virginia banned a local on her Facebook page after the latter accused the official of nepotism.

The ban was ruled unconstitutional on the basis of the First Amendment:

Phyllis Randall, chair of the Loudon County, Virginia, Board of Supervisors, banned Brian Davison from her Facebook page for just 12 hours. But according to a federal judge in Alexandria, that brief banishment in February 2016 was enough to violate Davison’s First Amendment rights…

… [U.S. District Judge James] Cacheris rejected Randall’s contention that her Facebook page “is merely a personal website that she may do with as she pleases.” He notes that she and her chief of staff created it shortly before she took office, that it it lists her official position and contact information, and that she uses it primarily for official purposes such as describing the supervisors’ work, implementing their policies, documenting her appearances as a representative of the county government, and communicating with her constituents.

Read more about it on Reason.

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Secret Service Agent May Face Disciplinary Action for Facebook Comments

Kelly O’Grady said “I am with [Hillary Clinton],” and that she would not “take a bullet” for a President Donald Trump in October 2016.

O’Grady’s comments were made in October, during the height of the presidential campaign and shortly after an audio tape of Trump making lewd comments about women was released. But they only came to light this week (in January 2017).

The matter was referred initially to the Office of the Inspector General but it referred the case back to the U.S. Secret Service for possible disciplinary action.

Read more about it at the Denver Post.

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Man Believes Fake News Shared on Social Media; Shoots Up Pizzeria

A Washington, D.C. pizzeria was the center of online attacks on fake news websites saying that it was the center of a child porn ring. The owner was harassed online and received death threats. The New York Times reported it shortly after the 2016 presidential election.

Two weeks later, a man who apparently believed what people shared on Facebook and Twitter about it fired shots at the restaurant.

The articles making those allegations were widespread across the web, appearing on sites including Facebook and Twitter. Apparently concerned, Mr. Welch drove about six hours on Sunday from his home to Comet Ping Pong to see the situation for himself, according to court documents. Not long after arriving at the pizzeria, the police said, he fired from an assault-like AR-15 rifle.

Fortunately, no one was hurt. The man was arrested.

Read more about it at the New York Times.

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