Tag archives: First Amendment

Banning critics from social media can constitute a First Amendment violation

The question of whether a public official may legally suppress dissent or criticism by banning dissenters from social media pages administered by the public official has recently entered the United States’ legal discourse. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently answered this question in Davison v. Randall, which was the first decision on the issue made at the federal appellate level. The implications of this decision could prove to be particularly significant, as President Trump is currently appealing a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In President Trump’s case, the district … Continue Reading

How anonymous can you be on social media?

In November of 2017, a federal appeals court rejected employment-related site Glassdoor’s claim that its users had a First Amendment right to anonymity that would protect their information from disclosure pursuant to a grand jury subpoena. The panel also sustained a contempt order that was entered by the district court to enforce the decision.  (In re Grand Jury Subpoena, No. 16-03-217, Civ. No. 17-16221, D.C.No. 2:17-mc-00036-DJH (9th Cir. Nov. 8, 2017)).  (We had previously covered an unrelated case involving anonymity of reviews on Glassdoor.com posted by former employees here.)… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Reverses Social Media Gag Order

Currently, in the midst of a jury trial in U.S. federal court, the San Diego Comic Convention (SDCC) has had a bumpy ride in its trademark suit in the Southern District of California against Dan Farr Productions and its co-founders for their use of the name Salt Lake Comic Con. On October 26, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the district court’s “gag order,” which essentially prevented the defendants from posting about the case on any social media platform.… Continue Reading

Social Media, Age, and the Entertainment Industry

Can a state law prevent a social media site from publicly posting accurate age information about individuals in the entertainment industry—even if that information is posted by users? The California legislature and Governor believed it was permissible, and the legislation went onto effect on September 24, 2016 (Cal. AB 1687, adding Cal. Civ. § 1798.83.5).  Five months later, a federal judge temporarily enjoined the government from enforcing that law, in IMDb.com Inc. v. Becerra, No. 16-cv-06535-VC (N.D. Cal. Feb. 22, 2017).… Continue Reading

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