SBCC to review proposed social media guidelines

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The South Bend Common Council is set to review an ordinance that would discipline members for sharing offensive material on social media websites.

Monday's council meeting will be the first reading of a social media guidelines proposal put together by Councilman Tim Scott with help from Council members Derek Dieter, Gavin Ferlic and Karen White.

"Social media issues have come about. This bill is to curb any future issues and give the council guidance to any disciplinary or corrective actions," said Councilman Scott.

The issue reached its apex in January, when an obscene photo of a man and a dog was posted to Councilman Henry Davis Jr's personal Facebook page.

Despite agreement over the image's offensive nature, Councilman Davis still went undisciplined due to a lack of laws regarding social media.

"We're over-stepping what the United States Constitution says," said Councilman Henry Davis Jr. "It's about chilling free speech, that's a first amendment right. We have the right to freedom of speech here in the United States of America."

The proposal's punishment for officials who engage in offensive online activity includes a minimum 3-month ban from all forms of social media.

If green-lighted, the ordinance would apply to both government and private social media accounts.

"We feel these are the best and (most) basic policies which will help this council move forward," said Scott.

The council is aiming to vote on the ordinance during their December 8th meeting.
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