SPLC attorneys answer your top questions about social media law 

Questions about social media have been in the news a lot recently. The laws around social media are constantly changing. SPLC's new guide "Social Media Law FAQs" will help you wade through the murky waters of social media law, whether you’re using social media as a part of your reporting duties or just in your personal life.   

For direct help, or if your question wasn’t answered in the guide, contact SPLC’s free legal hotline.

Check out the guide for answers to questions like:

  • What authority do public school officials have to punish me for my off-campus use of Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and other private social media platforms?
  • Can public high school officials dictate what we publish on school-affiliated social media accounts, like the Instagram page for our student newspaper? 
  • Can Twitter or another social media platform ban me from using their services? Does it violate my First Amendment rights?
  • We compiled a collage of screenshots from student’s Instagram photos. The accounts are public. Is it legal for us to publish that collage?
See Social Media FAQs

– Save the Date – 

Student Press Freedom Day:
Journalism Against the Odds
Feb. 26, 2021

Start planning activities in your area to tell the story of student journalism on Student Press Freedom Day. Stay tuned to this newsletter and SPLC's social media accounts for updates on planned activities and how to participate in the day.
Register now for our Feb. 4 "Op-Ed Boot Camp" to learn from veteran CNN and New York Times journalist Steven A. Holmes how to write and place an op-ed in a daily paper for #StudentPressFreedom Day.
Register Now

Q: Can my public school administration require us to cover a story in the yearbook?

A: Generally no. In addition to protecting one’s right to speak, the important flip-side to the First Amendment is that it also protects a person’s right not to speak, to remain silent. Schools cannot force students to publish an article, editorial or advertisement under their names with which they disagree. Only in the case of a glaring omission  — if the staff refuses to mention graduation or decides to omit the entire freshman class  —  might the school have a reasonable justification to step in. But in such rare instances, the student staff would have a right to demand that their names not be attached to such coverage.

See previous answers

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