Jasmine McNealy Comments on Elected Officials Blocking Social Media Critics
Jasmine McNealy, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project associate director and Telecommunication associate professor, was quoted in “Fort Pierce Commissioner Jeremiah Johnson, Rick Reed Settle Lawsuit Over Twitter Access” published in TCPalm.com on Feb. 24.
The article focuses on Fort Pierce critic Rick Reed and City Commissioner Jeremiah Johnson’s settlement of their seven-month federal lawsuit over access to Johnson’s Twitter account.
According to McNealy, an elected official blocking a critic on social media is not simply an effort to stop harassment, it can have far-reaching effects.
“Social media has become an indispensable tool for politicians to reach their constituents and for constituents to reach politicians and to learn what the issues are,” said McNealy. “When a politician who uses his or her Twitter account to disseminate city businesses blocks a constituent, it takes away an avenue for that constituent to interact with an elected official.”