Get governments off social media and problem solved

Pratt on Texas - copyright Pratt on Texas all rights reserved“After criticizing the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page, Deanna Robinson found herself blocked from commenting or liking its posts. Nearly two years later, her free speech case against the small law enforcement agency is reaching the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans,” began a story in the Texas Tribune.

“The case could ultimately clear up what’s become a muddied legal question impacting everyone from rural elected officials around the country to the president: In the age of social media, what constitutes a public forum?,” the story by Kathryn Lundstrom posited.

For me this is not a big issue but to keep it from being a problematic issue, I think a couple of things should be done.

First, all social media pages of elected officials should be considered non-official, campaign related items under laws which govern such. Alternately, since people choose to look at a page and do not have it forced upon them, the pages could be considered entirely personal outside of any regulation.

Second, government agencies should stop using social media for any purpose other than posting the same one-way press release type of items they send out to all. Due to the problematic situation of agencies not controlling social media pages, display algorithms, or even owner-based content selection and shielding, governments should be extremely limited in use of these third-party owned and controlled sites.

I have been very bothered by the abandonment of timely updating of official government websites only to be able to find what should be present only on social media pages because it presents a problem with authenticating information as these sites are easy to hack and manipulate. Get governments off social media, problem solved.

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