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First Amendment and profanity

Social media was placed on the back burner for a while for me. IT Division Mgr. drafted a policy on social media, and I finally had a chance to read it. A couple of time he stated that posts can be removed. Now I have to figure out how to balance the first amendment with keeping things nice.

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Henry Brown

MY OPINION and MY way of dealing with this issue
It is a very difficult balancing act!
What I usually do is question the individual who is NOT displaying proper posting procedure. Sometimes I will get a much better understanding why they are using what appears to be less than polite language, at least to me, and I will try to balance my disgust with an understanding of their frustration. Other times I come away from these discussions totally confused as to their motivations for using such language and unless they can provide a plausible reason to ME I usually delete there comment/email/posting without much terrible concern….

Brian Gryth


You may consider a comment policy that clear states the expectation for participation. Example linked below. Being government, of course, makes the 1st amendment issue problematic. I can’t say that I have any answers, but I am sure you don’t want to be the first agency sued over the issue.

Policy examples

Fairfax County Virginia has the following Facebook comment policy – http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/opa/getfairfax/facebook-comments-policy.htm

EPA blog comment policy http://blog.epa.gov/blog/comment-policy/

TSA Blog policy http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/01/comment-policy.html

Hope the info is helpful. Brian