San Diego Sheriff’s Department ends Facebook page

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – In this digital age, Facebook is one of the most widely used public forum’s to exchange information.

Dimitrios Karras posted a comment on the Sheriff’s Facebook page that made reference to the Sheriff personally, and his post was not only deleted, but he was banned from the website.

What Mr. Karras said about Sheriff Bill Gore is less important than what the Sheriff’s Department did when Mr. Karras posted his comment on the Sheriff’s Facebook page.

It was deleted.

If that same comment had been made out on a public street, this wound not be a story, but today, information flows across all sorts of social media platforms, and that information is protected speech.

“We have digital forums where we get together and we discuss topics and have a dialogue over what’s important to us,” said Mr. Karras’ attorney, Scott McMillan.

“Once he’s opened that up and created a public forum he cannot go and select which comments get to stay, and which comments are deleted based on the viewpoint of the person that’s writing the comment,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Department says Mr. Karras’ comments were removed because they were not on topic, which is arguable, and the Sheriff is not required to accept all Facebook comments.

“They can restrict what they’re allowing, but they can’t choose and pick who they’re hearing from and whether they like it or not,” said Ronis.

On Thursday, it will be decided if Mr. Karras will go to court for an injunction to prevent the Sheriff’s Department from deleting any comments.

This raises a host of legal questions about the government’s use of social media, and how the government might use it to control, or suppress speech.

Categories: KUSI