The Writing on My Wall: Freedom of Expression, First Amendment, and Social Media - New Faculty Rights Concerns

Document Type

Book Contribution

Publication Date



College professors and students are increasingly relying on social networking sites to make connections. With this new technology, questions about the lines of what is private and what is public have become blurry and misunderstood. Faculty find themselves involved in situations that are less than desirable and pose First Amendment concerns. A review of literature was conducted using a basic framework for analyzing free speech rights of college professors. A sampling of recent administrative decisions where college professors were reprimanded for online postings considered inappropriate by university authorities was also discussed. A content analysis of information posted to 85 faculty members ' Facebook walls was conducted. Results indicate that faculty members' posts were a combination of private and public concern. Implications of privacy rights for college professors on social networking sites and whether they fit within the purview of the freedom of speech First Amendment constitutional rights are considered.