Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Social Media and Violent Speech

Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, University of Florida Levin College of Law, has published Incendiary Speech and Social Media in volume 44 of the Texas Tech Law Review (2011). Here is the abstract.

Incidents illustrating the incendiary capacity of social media have rekindled concerns about the "mismatch" between existing doctrinal categories and new types of dangerous speech. This Essay examines two such incidents, one in which an offensive tweet and YouTube video led a hostile audience to riot and murder, and the other in which a blogger urged his nameless, faceless audience to murder federal judges. One incident resulted in liability for the speaker, even though no violence occurred; the other did not lead to liability for the speaker even though at least thirty people died as a result of his words. An examination of both incidents reveals flaws in existing First Amendment doctrines. In particular, this examination raises questions about whether underlying assumptions made by current doctrine concerning how audiences respond to incitement, threats, or fighting words are confounded by the new reality social media create.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/media_law_prof_blog/2011/11/social-media-and-violent-speech.html

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