Internet and Social Media
Ashcroft v. American Civil Liberties Union (2004) struck down a law
designed to protect children from Internet pornography on grounds it
violated the First Amendment.
In Bell v. Itawamba County School Board (2012), the court ruled that school
officials did not violate the First Amendment by punishing a student for
posting a rap song criticizing two football coaches.
Beussink v. Woodland School District (1998) used the First Amendment to
protect the rights of a student who maintained a website that was critical
of his school.
In Counterman v. Colorado, 600 U. S. ____ (2023), the U.S. Supreme Court vacated the conviction of a man found guilty of stalking a female musician, ruling that the First Amendment’s protection of free speech requires that prosecutors show that he was aware of the threatening nature of his communications. The ruling provided additional
Elonis v. United States (2015) reversed a conviction of a man convicted of
making threats via Facebook posts. True threats are not protected by the
The U.S. Supreme Court in Gonzalez v. Google (2023) declined to rule on whether targeted recommendations by a social media company’s algorithms would fall outside the liability of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Instead, the Court said that its ruling in Twitter v. Taamneh on the same day “is sufficient to acknowledge
In Gonzalez v. Google and Taamneh v. Twitter, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2021 addressed the liability of social media platforms for allowing the terrorist group ISIS to post videos, communicate its messages and radicalize new recruits. Families of people killed in ISIS attacks sought damages under a 2016 provision in the Anti-Terrorism Act that
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. that
school officials violated the First Amendment when it disciplined a
cheerleader for her vulgar Snapchat post.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in 2022 upheld an injunction against a
Florida law, the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act,” saying it likely
violated the First Amendment rights of social media companies.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in NetChoice v. Paxton upheld a Texas
law barring social media companies from censoring users based on their
Packingham v. North Carolina (2017) invalidated a state law prohibiting sex
offenders from accessing social media. The court said the law barred First
Amendment rights on websites.
Reno v. ACLU (1997) said provisions of the Communications Decency Act that
regulated Internet speech were too restrictive and violated the First
In Twitter, Inc. v. Taamneh (2023), the Supreme Court ruled that social media companies did not “aid and abet” an ISIS terrorist attack simply because their algorithms recommended ISIS content or they failed to remove content that recruited members and spread terrorist messages. The case overturned a ruling by the 9th U. S. Circuit
US v. American Library Association (2003) struck down a First Amendment
challenge against a law restricting funding to libraries that did not
install Internet filtering software.