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Elonis case decided by U.S. Supreme Court leaves lingering questions for online speech

12 Jun, 2015   | by:

Facebook is the modern-day microphone. The social media platform, in contrast to traditional ways of conveying messages, provides the opportunity for opinions to be amplified immediately to millions of others with the click of a mouse.

But unlike an orator physically standing before you where speech patterns can be scrutinized, emotions can be evaluated, and body language can be deciphered, words from a Facebook user become one-dimensional in transit to readers. Often, those construing messages miles away add their own color and depth to the communication composed behind an emotionless keyboard, creating a discrepancy between the intent of the original speaker and the how the expression is perceived by other parties.

This results in dissonance in the interpretation of messages between the speaker and listener in the digital world not as prevalent through in-person communications. The divergence in the discernment of words created through online speech can add complications to speech laws where intent is a key inquiry and can determine innocence or guilt. More…

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