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"Unwise, Uncivil Messages" Posted on Social Media Sites Can Have Legal Consequences

"Unwise, Uncivil Messages" Posted on Social Media Sites Can Have Legal Consequences

February 18, 2018

In a recent Indiana lawsuit, a court awarded monetary damages to a person who argued that comments posted on Facebook amounted to defamation.  A story in the Terre Haute Tribune-Star notes, "DePauw University communications professor Jeffrey McCall, a recognized authority on media, ethics and standards, said discretion is key when posting anything online, and people would be wise to calm down and think before posting."

"People tend to express outrage on social media in ways they wouldn't otherwise do in public," Dr. McCall tells the newspaper. "In that sense, the internet gives people a false sense of security, and that prompts people to engage in unwise, uncivil messages."

Free speech comes with responsibility, the professor asserts.

"Some people try to remain anonymous or use false identities in engaging social media, but those aren't necessarily guarantees of remaining unidentified," McCall said. "Virtually all internet communications can be traced if authorities are determined enough."

Access the article by Lisa Trigg here.

The author of Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences, Jeff McCall is a former journalist and 1976 graduate of DePauw, where he was a Rector Scholar and speech (communication) major and worked on student radio station WGRE, which he now serves as faculty adviser. McCall earned a master's degree from the University of Illinois and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. He joined the DePauw faculty in 1985.

The professor is regularly cited in major media reports.  He penned a recent op-ed for The Hill and was quoted last week in a Fox News story on The View.

Source: Terre Haute Tribune-Star