Michigan State University: Reported investigation into identity of anonymous internet commenters

Category: Free Speech
Schools: Michigan State University

In February 2020, Michigan State University’s president participated in an online question-and-answer session facilitated by the student government. After several anonymous commenters made remarks viewers interpreted as racially offensive, media reports indicated that the university’s police department was, at the request of the student government, seeking to identify the anonymous users. FIRE wrote to the police department asking for clarification and explaining that the First Amendment protects anonymous speech. MSU’s police department confirmed that it had not requested identifying information and would not do so, mitigating any chilling effect resulting from the media reports.