Can Social Media Threaten Our First Amendment Rights?

Back in March of 2020, a high school student was threatened with jail time if she did not take down a social media post. Not only was she threatened with jail time so were her parents, over a post on Instagram. This post consisted of her in a hospital bed, explaining how she was sick with COVID. As a student, she thought it was her right to be able to use her social media accounts to express her frustrations, or to update everyone on how she was doing.

“The girl’s messages caused panic,” said an attorney for the Marquette County Sheriff’s Department. The panic eventually led to a Marquette County Sheriff Joseph Konrath and a patrol sergeant confronting the teenager about her post and demanding her to take it down.

However, the teenage girl recently just won the lawsuit against the sheriff and the patrol sergeant.

“Demanding a 16-year-old remove protected speech from her Instagram account is a First Amendment violation,” said the judge.

We live in a time where we must protect even our online presence. This teenage girl thought she was bringing awareness on how real this COVID pandemic is and was faced with a harsh reality. The right to free speech should always be protected when it comes to one’s social media presence.

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