Facebook law of unintended consequences

Regular people, police departments, companies and non-profits are increasingly using Facebook to communicate with the world at large.  In many ways Facebook is like having a free website that quickly disseminates information to people you want to reach.  Very powerful but this power comes with a price.

Here is an example:

This is an excellent article which outlines the issues that a school board faces by creating its own Fan page and posting information to it.  The article suggests if the school board makes the Fan page available to anyone, it could be considered a public forum.  If the school board allows for public comment to this page, it is possible that all kinds of content could get posted to the page from students, teachers, administration or concerned citizens.  The impact of this is that the school board will have to accept all kinds of opinion subject to the constitutional protections of the First Amendment.  They might have to hire a First Amendment attorney to assist them in determining content that they can remove because it doesn’t fall within the realm of First Amendment protections and content they can’t remove.

This “public forum” issue, where a public or quasi-public entity decides to create a Facebok Fanpage to share information could arise in many situations thereby triggering the Facebook law of unintended consequences

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