Facebook often gets in trouble for stifling user voices. Government officials can use it as a tool for speech suppression, too—though thankfully there are groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to call them out when they try. That’s what happened this week when the ACLU of Maine filed suit against the state’s governor for deleting comments from his Facebook page and blocking users who disagreed with him.
“Social media has quickly become a crucial tool for constituents to express their opinions to public officials,” ACLU attorney Meagan Sway said. “Free speech must be protected from government censorship on Facebook just as is it in any other public forum.”
The suit argues that because Maine’s governor, Paul LePage, conducts official government business on his page, it should serve as an open forum for Maine constituents to share their views. The ACLU is representing two women who had their comments deleted from the page, and were blocked from further interaction with it even though nothing they said violated the state’s social media commenting policy.
“The governor should stop censoring people in public forums just because he disagrees with them,” one of the users said.
It’s no crime to disagree with someone online, even if that person is an elected official. It’s good to know there are organizations that’ll stand up for these rights even on Facebook.