Facebook and freedom of speech

Freedom of speech online

A Minnesota school punished a sixth grade student for a series of comments she made on her Facebook page, including one about “hating” a staff member at the school. The 12 year old girl – too young to legally use Facebook – apparently posted the content outside of school and using her own equipment, but when the school found out they required her to hand over her Facebook login details and searched her account. With the help of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the girl is now suing the school for invasion of privacy and violation of her First Amendment free speech rights.

A lot of ITGS social and ethical issues are raised here, including posting appropriate content online (Digital Citizenship) and policies related to the use of social networks and responses by schools. It is interesting that the school demanded login details (rather than, perhaps, asking the student to remove the content). Given the amount of person information many people post to social networks, and the frequency with which people reuse passwords for multiple websites, this action raises a lot of privacy concerns.

The student’s freedom of speech is, of course, another major issue and falls under the Politics & Government section of the ITGS syllabus. While in class we often study examples such as racism and terror-related content, examples which are more familiar to students’ own situations can prove stimulating discussion material.

Via: Cool Cat Teacher

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