Orland Park, IL. (ECWd) –
The Village of Orland Park has taken to banning people from its Twitter page, which is a direct violation of the United States Constitution and flies in the face of recent United States Appeals Court decisions on public officials and public bodies prohibiting speech they do not like by banning certain speakers from their social media pages.
Orland Park went one step further – it denied it had any records of people banned from its Twitter account when asked to provide the records under the Freedom of Information Act. See proof of blocking (here).
We understand there is now a complaint filed with the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor related to their denial of having any records of blocking people from their social media accounts.
This is a textbook example of why Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act needs to have criminal penalties for willful violations, and those penalties need to apply to the individual hiding records from the public.
In 2019, the United States Appeals Court for the Second Circuit in New York ruled that President Trump violated the First Amendment rights of people by banning or blocking them from reading and commenting on his Twitter account.
- “the First Amendment does not permit a public official who utilizes a social media account for all manner of official purposes to
exclude persons from an otherwise‐open online dialogue because they expressed views with which the official disagrees”
- “the court held that the blocking of the Individual Plaintiffs violated the Knight Institute’s right to read the replies of the Individual Plaintiffs which they cannot post because they are blocked”
- “Accordingly, we hold that the President violated the First Amendment when he used the blocking function to exclude the Individual Plaintiffs because of their disfavored speech”
In January of 2019, the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that a County Board Supervisor in Virginia violated the First Amendment rights of a constituent by blocking him from her Facebook account. the Court of Appeals confirmed the District Court’s ruling in a unanimous decision.
We suggest the Village of Orland Park produce the requested records and apologize for banning and blocking people from its social media accounts.