The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard arguments in a case concerning violent statements posted to Facebook by an aspiring rap artist. How the justices come out on this case, Elonis v. United States, could have significant implications for how lower courts handle threatening social media posts.
This is a milestone in social media litigation, and whether it’s for personal or brand use, PR pros should monitor the case closely to share findings (and suggestions) to keep company employees of all levels out of trouble on social media.
In December 2010, a Pennsylvania man was arrested after he posted rap lyrics on Facebook that appeared to threaten the life of his estranged wife (and others that referred to slicing the throat of an FBI agent and shooting up a school). Anthony Elonis, now 31 years old, was charged with five counts of violating a federal statute that prohibits the communication of threats to injure others.