The Supreme Court on Monday overturned a North Carolina law barring sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social networks open to minors. The decision indicates that SCOTUS views social media so vital to modern life that broadly denying access to it would infringe on basic rights.
“It is unsettling to suggest that only a limited set of websites can be used even by persons who have completed their sentences,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, in an 8-0 decision, overturning the law on First Amendment grounds. “Even convicted criminals—and in some instances especially convicted criminals—might receive legitimate benefits from these means for access to the world of ideas, in particular if they seek to reform and to pursue lawful and rewarding lives.”
The case arose after a Durham police officer spotted a convicted sex offender celebrating on Facebook under a pseudonym about having a traffic ticket dismissed. Read the full court opinion here.