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Political Figures, Social Media, and Free Speech

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is suing several conservative public servants, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, and now Maine Gov. Paul LePage for blocking individuals from their official social media accounts. The ACLU argues that official social media accounts constitute a “public forum” where constituents should be able to voice their opinions. But is it wrong to weed out abusive comments? Rob Anderson, chairman of Utah’s Republican Party, doesn’t think so. “You own your Facebook page and if you want to block somebody or hide somebody, that’s up to you,” he says. “Why else is there a tab that says hide or block?” With more and more politicians, particularly candidates up for election or reelection, going online to talk about the issues in the next several months, this will clearly be a matter of contention.

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