First Amendment, Criminal Law Mashup


On Feb. 27, Facebook once again takes center stage at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Court watchers may remember that the popular social media site was at the heart of a 2015 dispute, Elonis v. United States. There, the Supreme Court invalidated a conviction for making threats on Facebook in the form of rap lyrics and poetry.

In Packingham v. North Carolina, the defendant was convicted for having a social media profile… period.

In this Bloomberg BNA podcast, Kimberly Robinson and Jessie DaSilva break down a challenge to North Carolina’s law prohibiting registered sex offenders from visiting social media sites.

Among other arguments, the defendant here says Facebook and similar sites are just too important to limit access to.

“These sites continue to grow in relevance, functionality, and popularity,” the defendant’s Supreme Court brief said.

“Facebook, which had approximately 100 million users when” the North Carolina law “was enacted in 2008, had grown to 1.59 billion users when the petition for certiorari” in this case was filed, the brief said.

“Every day, more than half of American adults log onto” Facebook, it said.

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