After receiving multiple complaints from individuals whose comments - which expressed viewpoints that were critical of the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) - were deleted and their accounts subsequently blocked and banned from MDOC's Facebook page, we sent a letter demanding that MDOC respond by unblocking and unbanning any individual who had been previously censored. Further, we demanded that MDOC cease the unlawful practice of deleting comments or blocking and banning individuals on their social media pages.
Speech that criticizes the government has long been protected by the First Amendment. Speech on public or political issues in a public forum is among the most protected speech, and the Supreme Court has recognized that the internet and social media are among the most importnant places for speech. MDOC's social media pages are designated as public forums.
As a result of our demand letter, MDOC unblocked everyone that had been blocked on its Twitter and Facebook pages. MDOC also implemented a social media policy. While the policy is not perfect, it is sound and constitutional. We will continue to monitor this situation.
If you have been censored or blocked by any Mississippi government entity or official, please let us know.