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US top court to rule if threats on Facebook are free speech

Published on Jun 17, 2014 6:54 AM
 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Supreme Court said on Monday it would rule on whether violent threats posted on social media could merit criminal charges, or whether they are protected as free speech.

The nine justices of the nation’s top court said they would take on the case of Anthony Elonis, a Pennsylvania resident sentenced to four years in jail and three years supervised release over threatening messages he posted on Facebook.

The messages, including death threats against his ex-wife, were written in the style of rap lyrics.

In the appeal, which will be taken up in the fall, the court said it will consider whether “conviction of threatening another person ... requires proof of the defendant’s subjective intent to threaten.”

 
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