Tennessee Town Bans Negative Online Comments And It Doesn’t Work Out Well
The town of South Pittsburg, Tenn., just passed the most bizarre, China-like social media policy ever.
The town of just 3,000 feels picked on by social media, so it has barred anyone professionally connected to it from criticizing the poor, persecuted town that has never suffered from negative publicity until now.
[su_center_ad]This really makes me want to say bad things about South Pittsburg and I’ve never heard of the town until now.
What makes this especially odd is that the town hasn’t received any negative publicity, but it sure getting that now. Naturally, Reddit users pounced and created social media accounts to counter-their new law..
“The first thing everyone wants to say is, ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook,’” the town’s commissioner, Jeff Powers said. “Well, you can. Just not [anything] that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board, or things of that nature.”
“It is not a new concept,” South Pittsburg Mayor Jane Dawkins told Bloomberg Businessweek. Dawkins explained that the policy was mostly designed to stop people from posting employees’ salary information or police officers’ schedules on Facebook. “This lets people know that the officer’s spouse and children are home alone or that no one is at home,” she said.
According to Bloomberg, the South Pittsburg Police Department doesn’t appear to have much of a Facebook page, and it’s unclear if officers’ schedules have ever been posted online.
Times Free Press reports:
City Attorney Billy Gouger said the new policy is not intended to infringe on anyone’s right to free speech.
“What this policy tries to do is reconcile that right with other rights,” he said. “It does, to some extent, limit your ability to criticize or comment in an official capacity.”
The policy encourages those people to separate themselves privately from their position with the city, Gouger said.
It is intended to “minimize personal attacking” and “showing people in a negative light,” Powers said.
“Criticism is one thing,” Mayor Jane Dawkins said. “Out-and-out lies and untruths — that’s another thing. Those kinds of things are the things that will be directed.”
A lot of good that did!
— Fake Jane Dawkins (@NotJaneDawkins) December 18, 2014
It’s almost time for my 2hr lunch break; who wants to halfsies on some cheap hookers?
— Jeff Powers (@CommJeffPowers) December 16, 2014
It’s like they’ve never met Internet before. Maybe they saw Alan Colmes’ Twitter timeline in which he’s relentlessly trolled and thought, “Eww! We don’t want that here!” so they banned negative feedback.
Or, they could have just ignored them like Alan does.
H/T: Nomadic Politics. [su_csky_ad]