Tag Archives: Andrew Shirvell

When is your right to free speech abrogated?

-by Nerdface-

I think most people would agree that riding a train shouldn’t mean you’re giving up your right to free speech.  However, there are many instances where ‘freedom of speech’ goes only so far and no further.

Example: you work at a corporation with a strict social media/blogging policy that forbids you to discuss your job or the company outside of approved communication.  Or, you don’t, but they decide your blog is “inappropriate” anyway.  Or your Facebook comments.

Example: you post online that some people “deserve to be killed” and that you advocate using “FORCE AND VIOLENCE” against specific individuals, along with those individuals’ personal information.

Example: you work as an assistant state attorney general, and decide to start a very strange, personal campaign against a college student.  (Technically Shirvell wasn’t fired for exercising his freedom of speech, but the implications are worth considering.)

So what do you think?

Should your employer be allowed to fire you for writing about your job online?  How about writing anonymously about your job online?

Anyone who has spent much time reading commentary/discussion on the internet (example: youtube comments) knows just how much incendiary, violent, abusive language is out there.  When, if ever, should that lead to criminal charges and jail time?  How much should context be taken into account—and who should decide context?

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