The First Amendment and the Internet
DavidH. 27000521UH Visits (1996)
21 year old Liam Stacey sobbed as he was lead to his 2 month prison sentence for racist comments on Twitter. This brings into question exactly how does the first amendment work on the internet and whether citizens are protected by these rights.
Let's start with the story first though. Liam Stacey, in a drunken rage for having his soccer game stopped because a star player started having cardiac arrest, posted very racial and slanderous tweets on his twitter. Never mind the fact that the player, Fabrice Muamba, is barely recovering in a hospital right now. Some people responded to Liam but he just fired back with more racist rants.
After the drunken haze he tried to delete the twitter posts, but they have been mirrored to many sites and it was impossible to delete all of it on the internet. 13 hours later, police came and arrested Liam. the judge then gave him 2 months of prison sentence.
This brings up a very important topic of the first amendment right on the internet. We as Americans everyday abuse this amendment, thinking that we can hide behind the constitution and post bad comments on every YouTube page we visit. We forget that not every nation gets to play around with the first amendment, and people like Liam can get persecuted for saying such bad things on the internet. But we must know exactly what the first amendment gives us.
First off, the amendment only protects us from the government coming down on us. That is why such threats on Facebook can and probably will be deleted by admins. Since Facebook is a company and not the government, they have their own rules about regulation.
We need to be careful what we post on the internet. Even as Americans with the protection of the first amendment, we need to set a good example on the internet. If something is bad, post creative criticism. "You suck," is not creative criticism.