Title

Free Speech Does Not Protect Cyberharassment

Document Type

Blog Post

Publication Date

12-3-2014

Language

en-US

Abstract

Trolling — like the kind of exploitative abuse spewed against Zelda Williams on Twitter after her father’s death last week — is often nasty and hurtful. But it is routinely protected expression. Internet users are free to use words and images to get a rise out of others, even at their most vulnerable. In this case, two individuals tweeted photographs of dead bodies to a young woman and wrote that her deceased father would be “ashamed” of her — forcing her to quit the service altogether. These acts are offensive, disturbing and mean-spirited, and yet, they are examples of constitutionally protected speech.

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