Tennessee town tries to ban negative comments on social media
The Washington Post
By Reid Wilson
19 December 2014

The city council in a small town in rural Tennessee is trying to stop all those nasty comments made on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks by banning negative thoughts.

Town commissioners in South Pittsburg, Tenn., just outside of Chattanooga, voted 4-1 this week to approve what they call an “all-inclusive” social networking policy. The policy would prohibit elected officials, appointed board members, employees, volunteers, contractors — basically anyone who has a financial or official relationship with the city — from making negative comments on social media platforms.

“It seems like every few meetings we’re having to address something that’s been on Facebook and created negative publicity,” town commissioner Jeff Powers said, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“The first thing everyone wants to say is, ‘I can’t post anything on Facebook,'” Powers said, responding to critics who said the policy violates free speech rights. “Well, you can. Just not [anything] that sheds a negative light on any person, entity, board or things of that nature.”

City employees will have to sign a formal acknowledgement of the policy, with violators subject to sanctions.

South Pittsburg, population 2,992 according to the last Census, is a small town; their Web site lists the phone numbers for the entire police force — all six of them — and five public works employees.

It’s also the home to the National Cornbread Festival. It was not immediately clear if someone who doesn’t like a recipe can make their opinions known.

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