Can the Govt. Ban You from Facebook, Twitter?

By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on August 17, 2011 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Americans these days seem to be avid consumers of everything web-based. But, if things like Facebook are being used to organize crimes, can the government impose a Facebook ban? Or, even a blanket social media ban?

It seems that our neighbors across the pond are considering a ban on things like Facebook and Twitter.

The widely-publicized use of social media in organizing crimes like looting and vandalism in London likely influenced this new idea.

Of course, commentators have pointed out several large flaws in the UK's plan to ban social media.

One initial flaw would be the difficulty that investigators would have in tracking down culprits. The aim of the ban would be to stop users from using social media if they are using it to incite violence. This seems to make sense, but could be a logistical nightmare to enforce.

But, we've all seen Facebook and Twitter accounts that people create not under their real name, but a pseudonym.

And, tracking down users that might be inciting violence would likely cost hours and manpower.

The ban is being suggested to UK law-makers, where it will likely face scrutiny from many politicians, according to Media Post. Would the U.S. legislature ever consider implementing this sort of policy?

While they could, it would be a difficult legal battle. After all, the constitution guarantees citizens the right to peaceful assembly and free speech. Social media is a powerful tool to allow Americans to peacefully assemble.

The use of social media could be used for violent purposes, but on the other hand it seems that it can be used for many legitimate (and perfectly legal) reasons.

And, one can only wonder what will happen if the government does institute a Facebook ban or social media ban. Perhaps another social media-organized protest?

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