Civic News
Municipal government / Social media

ACLU says Gov. Hogan is censoring Facebook comments

Blocking people limits free speech, says the civil liberties organization.

Team Croissant. Courtesy photo.

Gov. Larry Hogan’s Facebook page is the latest free speech battleground.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the Maryland governor blocked 450 people over the last two years. Some of the people who were blocked most recently were urging him to take a position on President Donald Trump’s immigration order.
The governor’s spokesman contended that people who were blocked were part of an organized campaign to spam the page.
Late last week, the American Civil Liberties Union decided to step in. The ACLU of Maryland sent a letter on behalf of seven of the people who were blocked, and requested a review of all of the people who were blocked.
“Social media has become a key way that constituents communicate with their elected leaders, and it violates both the First Amendment and Maryland’s own social media policy for government officials to block out any voices of dissent or those simply raising questions about positions taken by public officials sworn to serve,” said Deborah Jeon, legal director for the ACLU of Maryland.
In a statement to the Baltimore Sun, the governor’s office indicated that six of the seven people were reinstated. The statement also added that the “ACLU should be focusing on much more important activities than monitoring the governor’s Facebook page.”


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