Urban Wire Research rewind: Social media, intimate partner violence, and Elonis v. United States
Display Date

Media Name: socialspeech002.png

At what point do tweets and status updates cross the line from harmless online chatter to harassment and abuse?

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Anthony Elonis, whose social media posts—such as “Fold up your PFA [protection-from-abuse order] and put it in your pocket. Is it thick enough to stop a bullet?,” published shortly after his estranged wife sought and received a protective order—landed him in jail. CNN reports:

The Court said that it wasn't enough to convict the man based solely on the idea that a reasonable person would regard his communications as a threat.

"Our holding makes clear that negligence is not sufficient to support a conviction," wrote Chief Justice John Roberts.

What are the potential implications of this decision? Late last year, the Justice Policy Center’s Janine Zweig shared what research tells us about social media and intimate partner violence.