The First Amendment and Social Media

Two recent court rulings have established that governmental social media accounts that are open to the public for discourse are public forums of free expression, like town hall meetings or public parks, and that blocking critical commenters or deleting critical comments violates the First Amendment. Frayda Bluestein discusses these rulings and provides some tips for public officials who engage with the public via social media in her post on the blog Coates’ Canons titled “The First Amendment Keeps the “Social” in Government Social Media”.

The State Archives of North Carolina has developed best practice documents to provide information about the legal and appropriate use of social media by state agencies and local government. For more information visit the Digital Records Policies and Guidelines section of our website.

You can also register for our pilot workshop “Managing Public Records: Digital Communications”. The workshop will be held in Kannapolis, North Carolina on March 26 and will focus on managing digital communications as public records. This workshop includes guidance on email, social media, instant messages, and text messages.

To register, please fill out the online registration form. There is no cost to attend.

For questions about the workshop please contact Whitney Ray at or (919) 814-6907.