Indiana Governor's Deleted Facebook Comments on Gay Marriage Reveal Legal Issues
Officials potentially could risk running afoul of the law if they remove critical posts from an official Facebook page with too heavy of a hand.
Sometimes, what’s civil is in the eye of the beholder — especially on Facebook.
That much became clear Thursday, as Gov. Mike Pence navigated the blowback from his staff’s deletion of hundreds of comments on his official Facebook page. They were responding to the posting Wednesday of a statement expressing his renewed support for putting a constitutional gay marriage ban before Indiana voters.
The episode underlines the difficulty faced by government officials when they set up an outpost on Facebook. Wittingly or not, they take responsibility for a forum in which supporters and detractors alike can sound off — sometimes including insults, name-calling or profanity.
Pence stood firm Thursday, saying his staff viewed the deleted comments as uncivil. And his spokeswoman pointed out many posts critical of the Republican governor’s position remained among the hundreds still visible Thursday morning.
There’s also a legal dimension to the debate. Experts told The Indianapolis Star that, under standards that the courts still are struggling to adapt to digital spaces, officials potentially could risk running afoul of the law if they remove critical posts from an official Facebook page with too heavy of a hand.
Join the Discussion
LATEST PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE HEADLINES
NYC Adds Cultural Benefits to Incentivize Undocumented to Get ID Cards22 hours ago
Arrested Before Election Day? Ohio Will Bring Ballots to Jail23 hours ago
'Right to Hunt' Amendments Pit Gun Rights vs. Animal Welfare1 day ago
NRA Helps Some Governors Up for Re-Election1 day ago
Police Chiefs Pledge Cultural Shift in Policing1 day ago
States Wrangle over Supreme Court Control2 days ago