Westchester County Government Adopts New “Three Strikes” Social Media Policy on Public Comments | #socialmedia

WHITE PLAINS, NY (May 12, 2022) — Westchester County Executive George Latimer has approved a new policy for public comment on county-owned social media platforms.

“Westchester County encourages a free and open dialog where people of differing opinions can come together in a civil way and converse”, read a statement posted on the County website.

Content posted on Westchester County social media pages will be deleted if it violates the policy, and the account will be banned after three violations.

Prohibited Conduct
  • Libelous, slanderous, inflammatory or defamatory comments
  • Vulgar, racist or sexist slurs
  • Obscenities
  • Comments pertaining to violence
  • Incorrect information
  • Comments that are not relevant to the topic
  • A user who is misrepresenting themselves

Westchester County Executive George Latimer ordered all commenting turned off on the Westchester County Government Facebook Page at about 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.

In response to an inquiry by this reporter the next day, Communications Director Catherine Cioffi acknowledged that comments were disabled.

“No one is currently blocked on the page, and commenting is turned off to everyone,” Cioffi said. “We need legal guidance on how best to manage. So, in short, yes, all commenting is turned off on Facebook for now.”

“Legal is working with Cornell Law School First Amendment Clinic and the Brennan Center at NYU Law School,” she added. “For the time being we have turned off all commenting until we hear back on options.”

A comment thread soon after the new policy was announced suggests a legal fight may be next.


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