Rhode Island attorney general pushes broad ban on hostile social media posts

Someone needs better advice about the First Amendment, and quickly: “Social media posts, sexually explicit or otherwise, that cause someone’s online embarrassment or insult, would become crimes under a set of bills being advanced by Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin.” One of the bills “would target a wide range of social media activity that makes people ‘feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.'” so long as it had been “made with the intent to cause emotional distress and be expected to cause distress in a ‘reasonable person.'” While previous “cyber-bullying” legislation required a pattern of conduct, “someone could be prosecuted under the new Kilmartin bill for a single post if at least two others pile on with ‘separate non-continuous acts of unconsented contact” with the victim.'” — meaning that the trigger for jail time over speech could be the actions of other persons. [Providence Journal] Two years ago the New York high court struck down an overbroad ban on so-called cyber-bullying.


  • Walter, I think you’ll appreciate my tweet of your post:

    Idiot unicorn fondling Rhode Island attorney general pushes broad ban on hostile social media posts.

    • All I can say is, better get comments like that out of the way while it’s still legal to say them in Rhode Island, Amy.

  • And what if I never touch foot in RI? The way you fix this is through a retweet campaign where thousands agree with a post that violates this unconstitutional law. Want to prosecute? Go ahead – we’ll tie up the state court system for years.

  • A former RI attorney general is the vile Sheldon Whitehouse, distinguished in his US Senate career for demanding political prosecutions. Is it something in their Kool-Aid?