Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Anonymous Internet Speech Takes Hit in New Jersey

The New Jersey Supreme Court has ruled that social media and message board activity may not enjoy the same level of protection as traditional journalistic media such as newspapers. This is one of the first opinions to make distinctions between journalistic activity in social networks and traditional news media.

The decision has to do with the breadth of New Jersey's shield law, which allows journalists to protect their sources. According to New Jersey, reporting in traditional journalistic channels maintains a robust right to shield sources. Not so much in social media and message boards such as Facebook and Twitter.

Anonymous speech rights are at the center of social media law and tension is present in this area. That is because internet defamation is exploding. This New Jersey case could be a ray of hope for those being targeted by anonymous internet defamation. An experienced internet defamation lawyer may be able to use arguments similar to this New Jersey case to identify the source of anonymous internet defamation taking place in social networks and message boards.

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