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Supreme Court divided over online free speech

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering the free-speech rights of people who use violent language on Facebook and other social media. The nine justices on Monday appeared divided over whether the uphold a conviction of a Pennsylvania man who was convicted of making threatening statements to his wife, law enforcement and others on social media.

The justices heard an hour of oral arguments involving a case that has been followed by thousands across the country. The case brings the limits of free-speech online back to the forefront of the U.S. Supreme Court. Anthony Elonis who served prison time for posting several violent statements on Facebook four years ago after his wife left him. Elonis has claimed that he did not intend to frighten anyone but was just trying to “blow off steam.” His attorney John Elwood spoke to the Supreme Court saying the government must be able to prove that Elonis intended to instill fear in others and make them feel threatened.

General Michael Dreeben who is the Deputy Solicitor General represented the government in this case. He told the court that it does not matter what Elonis meant but whether a normal person would have felt threatened. We want a standard to hold people accountable.” Read More at


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